BEFORE the start of the 2020 football season Jeremy Gordon was excited to 'be coming home' to Bathurst - he's gone on to do just that but not quite in the way he'd imagined.
The former Group 10 Rugby League player of the year had signed to play with the Bathurst Panthers and was set to add plenty of experience to their back line.
However, the impact of the coronavirus forced the cancellation of the Group 10 premier league competition for 2020.
It was sad news, but one member of the Bathurst Bushrangers AFL Club - Steve Grundy - saw an opportunity in that cancellation. He saw it as a chance to lure Gordon back to the AFL Central West competition.
"Jeremy played back in Bathurst Eagles when he was 16 and 17. The last game he ever played was the under 17s grand final and he was easily the best on ground," Grundy said.
"I remember after it everyone was trying to tell him to stick with [Australian rules] football, but he had a league contract with Roosters. It's awesome to have him back.
"I've been trying to get him him for the last 10 years. I knew once Group 10 was over, if I was ever going to get him in, it was this year. I got him to one training session then didn't get him back for about a month and thought I might of lost him.
"But he's been training the last couple of weeks and said he'd be there for round two."
Gordon lined up for the Bathurst Bushrangers Rebels in their tier two match against the Parkes Panthers at George Park 1 on Saturday.
He played on the half-back-flank as the Rebels posted a 10-8-68 to 8-7-55 victory. As he re-adjusts to the sport, Grundy expects him to play a role in more victories.
"He had a big smile on his face at the end of the game, so I think he was pretty happy with being back out there," Grundy said.
"Give him another couple of games to just really wrap his head back into the game, he'll be up there with the very best in the grade.
"I don't think I've seen him play bad at any sport, he's a good basketballer, good Aussie rules player, good at league - he's just a natural athlete."
Gordon was not the only new Rebels recruit to take on the Panthers, with Grundy impressed by others as well.
"We've made the most of the situation and recruited pretty well from some other sports. We've got Ben McNiven, Corey Rotarangi, Kieran Osborn, they're all the sort of blokes who are natural athletes so the more they learn the game - they're going to be very, very good," he said.
After going down to Cowra in their season opener, the Rebels are now fourth on the ladder of the re-introduced second-tier of senior men's football. Grundy's glad to have it back.
"We need that reserve grade at the end of the day because it gives some of the juniors to test themselves. It's just a mixture of ages, you've got older guys who were once elite footballers who now just want a kick around," he said.
"I've been very impressed with the standard and most of the games are pretty close."