Paul Puopolo is returning home to his grassroots origins, rejoining the Hope Valley Football Club in an effort to give back to the community that helped foster him.
It is not the only signing that has happened in the Adelaide community this off-season, as it adds to the number of people joining the local leagues. Country footy is a significant part of many AFL players' careers, and Puopolo is no exception.
The 34-year-old spoke to News Corp about why he chose to re-join his country roots and get back to where it all started.
“I've been a city man my whole life and I wanted to experience country footy,” Puopolo said.
“There were so many great people at Virginia who have become good friends and I enjoyed my time there but it involved a lot of driving to the club and back to Adelaide – missing out on some family time.
“I've got some mates at Hope Valley and there's that sense that I want to give back to the club for helping me in my career so I thought it was probably the right move to make.”
The Hope Valley Demons were promoted to division three after they made the grand final last season, and the former Hawk will only add experience to the side.
“I want to keep enjoying my footy and while the team is strong on the field I want to keep playing my part off the field as well, especially when it comes to being able to mentor guys," the three-time premiership Hawk added.
“It's a different aspect of footy and you get a lot of enjoyment out of helping people improve whether it's as a player or as a person.”
Puopolo is excited about the challenge ahead of next season and is looking to make a statement and is aiming high. He is confident in what he will be able to bring to the club and help hold their spot in this division.
“Moving up to a new division is never easy and I think if we can compete for and make finals that would be a fantastic achievement,” he said.
“We're not expecting to go out and win it all straight away but I think we can continue to build from here and if I can help them to progress in any way I'm going to do it.”
The other ex-AFL players include Mitch Grigg to Athelstone, Luke Brown to Tea Tree Gully and Josh Glenn to Golden Grove in the footy league. The Adelaide Footy League is exploding with talent and it will bring more fans to the local games.