RICKY Henderson's arrival in the Hampden league is an added boost for a competition already building towards a triumphant return.
The coronavirus pandemic cost the competition a season in 2020 for the first time since World War II but those involved in the 10 clubs are busy preparing for its comeback.
All senior coaches recommitted by the end of August, easing the pressure on committees which would otherwise had to search for replacements in an uncertain market.
Premiership players are being welcomed back into the fold. And past players too.
Hampden league leading goal-kicker Jason Rowan has returned to Warrnambool after a stint in the Warrnambool and District league and mercurial forward Tim McIntyre has re-joined Koroit from the Bellarine competition.
It's not often a club farewells a century goal-kicker and replaces them with another.
But that is what's happened with the Blues. Darren Ewing is moving on and Rowan, who is just 126 goals shy of the league record, will slot into his place.
McIntyre is a match-winner. His 2017 grand final best-on-ground medal is evidence of that.
Those two draw crowds to the football.
Another returning player hoping to have a similar impact is North Warrnambool Eagles' Dion Johnstone.
The former Melbourne-listed footballer is only 22 and can play as either a small forward or defender.
Eagles coach Adam Dowie loves his tenacity and ability to apply pressure.
Hamilton Kangaroos were denied a chance to see what master coach Gerard FitzGerald could do in his first season at the helm.
But 'Fitzy'- a three-time VFL premiership coach with North Ballarat Roosters and ex-NAB League mentor with GWV Rebels - has re-signed with the Roos.
The club lost talented players entering the 2020 season.
But regardless of who runs out in the blue and white, it will be interesting to watch how the experienced mentor extracts the best out of the list at his disposal.
It's Henderson's commitment to the league however which will provide the biggest boost in 2021.
As South Warrnambool president Steve Harris said when announcing the club had secured his prized signature: "It is very rare indeed that you secure someone immediately out of the elite AFL system into a small country club."
Henderson, who retired last month following a season-ending knee injury, is only 32 and brings with him 159 games' experience at the elite level.
The former Adelaide and Hawthorn midfielder last played AFL in July. That game he collected 24 disposals.
Imagine what he will do at country level?
Expectations will be high as will interest in Henderson and the Roosters' fortunes.
Henderson's appointment complements Louis Herbert's homecoming.
The former Gold Coast rookie, who played three AFL games in 2014, will bolster the Roosters' back line.
South Warrnambool looked poised to be the big improver in 2020, having welcomed Bacchus Marsh captain Liam Mullen and the returning James Hussey and Joe Dalton.
It didn't get the chance to show what it could do but now, with Henderson and Herbert signing on, looks even stronger.
The top-end of the competition will be intriguing.
Koroit, North Warrnambool Eagles, Port Fairy and Warrnambool will all fancy their chances and every season a surprise packet or two emerges.
Lists are still taking shape. Remember, it's only October.
Prepare for more off-season signings - hopefully at all 10 clubs to help even out the talent pool - as we prepare to welcome football back to the south-west.