Premiers Maitland have pulled off a recruitment coup, gaining 2019 Northern NSW NPL golden boot Braedyn Crowley from Lambton Jaffas for next year.
Crowley scored 15 times last season as the injury-hit Jaffas finished second then lost to eventual champions Edgeworth in the semi-finals.
Maitland claimed their maiden first-division premiership before losing to the Eagles 2-0 in the decider.
The recruitment of Crowley puts the Magpies, who have retained most of their squad, in excellent shape to defend their title and again push deep into the FFA Cup.
Mick Bolch was named NNSW NPL coach of the year after taking Maitland to the premiership, grand final and FFA Cup round of 32 for the first time.
"He's quality and a different type of striker than what we've got," Bolch said of Crowley.
"His pace and his balance, in my opinion he's the best striker in the comp, so it's a great pick-up for the club.
"He fits in with how we play. We work hard as a group and for each other, and he epitomises that. He gives 100 per cent and gets stuck in all the time.
"With our success this year, there's been plenty of interest with players wanting to come here, but you want to sign the right players and make sure they fit with your group, and he definitely ticks all the boxes in what we're looking for."
The 23-year-old former Newcastle Jets and Melbourne City A-League player joined Jaffas in 2018 after a short stint with Bulleen in the Victorian NPL.
The Townsville product came to the Newcastle Jets Youth set-up in 2015 from Northern Fury.
His departure to Maitland came as a shock to the Jaffas and coach James Pascoe, who was with the Jets when Crowley came to Newcastle.
"Braedyn and myself go back a long way, having been the person who bought him down from Queensland as a 16-year-old to join the Newcastle Jets Youth team," Pascoe said.
"The Jaffas have provided incredible support to Braedyn during his transition from being a professional player in Melbourne to someone who has now joined the workforce and happily settled in Newcastle.
"Braedyn has always repaid that support with a high work ethic and good performances.
"I'm fully supportive of Braedyn in his wish to have a change of scenery for the 2020 season and look forward to working with him again in the future."
The Jaffas had already boosted their attack with the recruitment of 2019 NNSW NPL player of the year Mitch Oxborrow (Broadmeadow) and Scott Pettit (Hamilton), who is a past winner of the award, but the loss of Crowley is a major blow.
Maitland had re-signed the majority of their roster but the future of veteran marquee Matt Thompson remains uncertain.
Bench utility Alex Read has left Maitland to join Valentine, while Grant Brown remains under a cloud for 2020 because of work commitments. Ryan Clarke is also considering retirement.