REIGNING premier Koroit is facing life without star midfielder James Gow.
The 22-year-old, who is listed with Geelong's VFL outfit, has signed for Geelong Football League powerhouse St Joseph's.
Gow travelled back to Victoria Park to help Koroit to its sixth consecutive Hampden league flag after playing with Bell Park in 2018.
Saints mentor Chris McLaren backed Gow's decision but lamented the loss.
"Clearly James is a great player and we'll miss him," McLaren said.
As we've always done, if the circumstances lean towards a player needing to be in Geelong for work or uni we'll be encouraging and supportive of that decision.Chris McLaren
"As we've always done, if the circumstances lean towards a player needing to be in Geelong for work or uni we'll be encouraging and supportive of that decision.
"It was an ongoing conversation with James last year as he's heading into his final year of uni. He's done a fair bit of travel back and we appreciate that."
McLaren expected Gow to make waves at GFL level.
The three-time premiership coach said players from Koroit's flag-winning reserves outfit would press to replace the goalkicking midfielder.
"We have a terrific reserves side and there are guys in there who probably need a bit more opportunity to become good players for us," he said.
"James will be missed as a player and a person, but it's the way it goes.
"We've probably had six to nine players turn over from each grand final. It's how you deal with it.
"We're comfortable with it all."
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