BENJAMIN Mugavin says his decision to leave South Warrnambool is one of the hardest of his life.
The 26-year-old utility has signed with North Warrnambool Eagles, severing what had seemed an unbreakable link to the Roosters.
Mugavin and his family is steeped in South Warrnambool history and tradition.
He has played all his footy in the south-west with South Warrnambool since under 12s.
He was a member of premierships sides at under 16, under 18 and senior levels and his father Noel is a dual premiership coach.
“I always feel like I’m a South player and still feel that way,” he said.
“But things happened at the end of last year where in the short-term it was untenable for me to be there.
“Certain individuals at committee level made it not possible for me to be there.”
Mugavin, who coached the Roosters’ under 18½ side for the past two seasons, agonised over the move.
He wishes the South playing group and new coach Matthew Monk well for 2014.
“I’d never thought I would leave South. It was just the position I was put into.
“I hope to one day be able to go back there when my two brothers (Jeremy and Jamie) want to play there. I would love to do that.”
But since joining the Eagles’ pre-season training after Christmas, Mugavin is looking forward to a new chapter in his career at Bushfield.
He has a few old school mates at the Eagles and is excited at the prospect of playing without added distractions.
“I just want to have fun and get a kick,” he said.
“It’s a great challenge for me. It’s a really good vibe there and they are striving for something.
“They are a ready-made team and it’s a challenge to cement a position in the side. It’s not going to be easy.”
The Eagles are excited to have a player of Mugavin’s size, ability and experience.
Coach Bernard Moloney said Mugavin’s versatility would enable him to play in defence, forward, in the middle possibly as a ruck-rover and back-up ruckman to Jordan Dillon.
“I want to give him an opportunity to really enjoy his footy,” Moloney said.
“We’ll give him an opportunity to play his best footy.”
Moloney said Mugavin’s all-round ability would be a big asset for the Eagles.
He said having him ease Dillon’s workload in the ruck, meant Dillon could rest up forward, stretching opposition defences.
The Eagles’ productive off-season has also netted Dom Barlow, the brother of Herb.
While Herb is working back to full fitness and good health after suffering a broken leg during the 2012 season, Dom is another strong midfielder.
The club has also signed former Judd Cup winner Luke Williams, who has had an extended period out of the game.