Simon Buckley is passionate about Echuca again becoming a Goulburn Valley League force.
The reigning Morrison medallist is in for the long haul at the Murray Bombers after re-signing at the club for another two years.
Arguably the best player in the competition, Buckley’s signature ensures Echuca is an attractive proposition for the incoming coach.
Andrew Briggs announced last month he would not be continuing in the role next year after four seasons in charge.
‘‘The club has been really good to me and the club said it’d be a help going forward if I was able to commit now and hang around with some of the other boys,’’ Buckley, 30, said.
‘‘We’ve got a good crew of recruiting guys together and with a new coach and a few new players, hopefully we’ll be able to push up the ladder.’’
It has been a difficult three weeks on the field for the Murray Bombers after a sensational win at Euroa on July 8.
Since then, Echuca has basically dropped out of finals contention by losing to Benalla and bottom sides Mooroopna and Shepparton Swans.
The Murray Bombers have not played in a senior final since the 2011 preliminary final, with their last flag coming in 2002.
‘‘It’s obviously disappointing not playing finals, it was certainly our goal this year and last year we just missed out,’’ Buckley said.
‘‘We’re not looking like we’ll make it again this year after the last few weeks, but I don’t think we’re far away.
‘‘I’m hoping we can retain all the boys because we’re certainly in an upward trend and if any guys want to play some country football, it’s a great club heading in the right direction with a good list.’’
Buckley was somewhat of a surprise winner of last year’s Morrison Medal after missing four games and incredibly failing to gain a vote from umpires in 2015.
His form has gone to another level this season and is a red-hot favourite to become the first GVL player since Shepparton’s David Code in 1981 to take home back-to-back league medals.
The former Collingwood and Melbourne player will almost certainly take out his fourth Echuca best-and-fairest.
His next contract will have Buckley at the Murray Bombers until at least the end of 2019 — his seventh season at the club.
Buckley’s current accolades will see him become a GVL Hall of Famer when he is eligible.