Former North Melbourne utility Shaun Atley has returned to his roots in signing with Goulbourn Valley League club Rochester.

Atley, an Echuca product, departed Arden Street after not being offered a new contract for next season following 234 games with the Kangaroos.

The 29-year-old first joined North Melbourne via the 2010 National Draft, making his debut the following year against West Coast in Round 1.

Atley returns to regional Victoria in linking up with the Tigers for 2022, joining the likes of former Giant Sam Reid (Echuca) and ex-AFL journeyman Michael Hartley (Seymour) in joining the GVL for next season.

The defensive onballer averaged 17.3 disposals, 3.5 marks, 2.1 tackles, 2.1 rebounds 50s and 2.2 inside 50s per match across his career.

Rochester expressed their delight in having Atley join their ranks for the new year in an announcement on Sunday night.

"The club is extremely excited to welcome Shaun Atley to Tigerland in 2022," a club social media post reads.

"Shaun needs no introduction having played 234 AFL games with North Melbourne after being drafted in 2010. We can’t wait to see Ats in the yellow and black."

https://www.facebook.com/rochesterfnc/photos/a.755413617807082/5314788938536171

Atley was among four North Melbourne players to be delisted at the conclusion of the 2021 season, joining Trent Dumont, Tom Campbell and Charlie Ham in being among the unlucky quartet to depart the club.

Unlike Atley, Dumont and Ham have nominated for this week's National Draft, while Campbell was recruited to St Kilda during the delisted free agency period.