READ MORE - Last weekend's Loddon Valley league wrap
AS MUCH as he enjoyed a season out of the game last year, the urge to pull the boots back on in 2019 couldn't be denied for star forward Justin Maddern.
What had started this year as the intention of just playing enough games to qualify for finals for East Malvern alongside brother-in-law Luke Poustie in the Southern league has now grown into a full-time return for Mitiamo in the Loddon Valley league for Maddern.
Maddern has been one of central Victoria's most decorated forwards since the 2000s, kicking a century of goals in both the Bendigo and Loddon Valley leagues, as well as playing VFL with the former Bendigo Bombers.
But following a year out of the game last year, Maddern has committed full-time to the club he coached in 2016-17, Mitiamo, for the remainder of the Loddon Valley season.
READ MORE - BENDIGO ADDY FOOTY CHALLENGE - week seven scores
He kicked four goals for the Superoos in an Easter cameo game against Newbridge last month, before slotting seven in his first game back as a permanent Mitamo player last Saturday against Inglewood.
"I really enjoyed having last year off... it was good for my body and mind," Maddern said on Wednesday.
"I was going to play six to eight games with my brother-in-law's team East Malvern this year, but the travel down to Melbourne just got a bit much and having a lot of former Kangaroo Flat team-mates at Mitiamo now, I was really keen to get back there and have a kick with them."
Co-coach Tyrone Downie, Tim Brooks, Luke Lougoon, Jarryd Wiegard, Ash Benbow and Dylan Clohesy are all former Kangaroo Flat team-mates of Maddern playing with the Superoos.
The teaming together of Downie and Maddern - who combined for 154 goals the last time Kangaroo Flat made the BFNL finals in 2009 - along with Brooks and Ryan Wellington gives the Superoos the most potent front half in the Loddon Valley league.
"I'm nearly 35 now and haven't got a lot left to give so, hopefully, I can help out in a small way," Maddern said.
"When I was having a chat with the club, a lot of us guys went through some pretty hard times out at Kangaroo Flat and it would definitely mean a lot to try to have some success with them.
"I've dropped a bit of speed and agility these days, but if I can help out in a small way and make a contribution, I'll be happy with that.
"Hopefully, we can keep everyone on the park and do okay."
The Superoos sit second on the ladder with a 5-1 record; their only loss so far having been to the undefeated Pyramid Hill in round two.
This year marks 10 years since the Superoos' last flag, but in what may be an omen for the club, seasons ending in nine have been good to Mitiamo - its last three premierships were won in 2009, 1999 and 1979.
* This Saturday's games - Bridgewater v Mitiamo, Pyramid Hill v Calivil United, Inglewood v Maiden Gully YCW, BL-Serpentine v Newbridge.
MEANWHILE, the Bendigo and Shepparton District junior football leagues will face off against each other at Strathfieldsaye's Tannery Lane on Sunday.
Games in the La Trobe University Challenge will be played on both ovals beginning at 9.45am.
* Sunday's schedule:
9.45am - Under 14 Boys
10am - Under 12 Boys
11.30am - Under 13 Boys
11.40am - Under 15 Boys
1pm - Youth Girls U16
1.35pm - Under 16 Boys
2.30pm - Youth Girls U18
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