A Terang Mortlake recruit will take the field in round one against Camperdown, just two-weeks after starring in an emotion-charged premiership win.
Scott Carlin, whose return to the Bloods was announced late last year, starred in Waratah's Northern Territory premier league grand final victory on Saturday.
The 23-year-old midfielder was one of the Warriors' best players in their 70-52 triumph which marked the club's first flag in the top-tier since the 1999-2000 season.
The win was extra special for Carlin, who played 19 games in his debut season in the top-end and earned selection in the best players six times.
"It was my first premiership and it was a really good feeling to win one up here," he said.
"It meant a lot for me and my family with a lot of Terang people over the years coming up and playing for the Waratahs.
"It's been over a 20 year drought at the club so yeah, it was just good to bring it home for them."
The former Geelong Cats VFL player wasn't the only south-west connection celebrating the win, with former Koroit defender Jack O'Sullivan and ex-Blood Brodie Carroll also named in the Warriors' best after the decider.
Carlin spoke highly of his experience on-and-off the field in the Northern Territory and plans to return.
"I like it up here, it's good not doing a pre-season you can just play footy all year round," he said.
"You train during the week and get reward and play on the weekend. I adapted up here. The footy's been very good, I think it's a very good standard up here, it's pretty quick-paced."
The 2021 Warrnambool and District league J.A. Esam Medallist shared the field with a host of former AFL stars during the season, highlighted by a game against a Palmerston outfit which included Eddie Betts (Carlton and Adelaide), Neville Jetta (Melbourne) and Travis Varcoe (Geelong and Collingwood). He was also named in the league's representative squad in December alongside O'Sullivan.
Carlin's focus now turns to helping Terang Mortlake as they vie for a Hampden league finals berth in 2023.
The side finished eighth last year but with several high-profile signings including Carlin and former Sydney Swan and Brisbane Lion Lewis Taylor, expectations are higher.
"Definitely finals is the goal," Carlin said. "We'll be very competitive this year which is going to be great."
Carlin can't wait to be back playing in his junior colours.
"The likes of Lewy and Alex Moloney, it'll be good to play with them," he said.
"(Being) my home club it means a lot to me down there."
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