The Bunbury Forum Force have been rocked by news pacy midfielder Jon Brooks will leave the club, after inking a deal with State Premier League rivals Floreat Athena.
In a devastating mid-season departure, Brooks told the Force on Monday of his plans to join the Perthbased club.
His announcement came only two days after Bunbury were defeated 2-1 by Athena at Payne Park.
Brooks, 24, joined the Force last season after four years playing in the United States.
The Lancashire-born star’s signature was seen as one of the cornerstone’s behind Bunbury’s Division One triumph in 2011 and subsequent promotion to the State Premier League.
As the Force’s starting line-up shifted this season, Brooks had been one of the club’s linchpins and even taken a position on the club’s board as ‘‘Players Representative’’.
Despite his small frame, Brooks’ fitness and poise made him the architect of several attacking raids.
Brooks was coy as to the specific reasons behind the switch saying he ‘‘just fancied a change’’.
‘‘We played them at the weekend and their coach was interested in me,’’ he told the South Western Times.
‘‘I spoke with him and I liked what he had to say.’’
He trained with Floreat on Tuesday night and is hoping to be selected in their side that will take on Stirling Lions at E and D Litis Stadium this weekend.
‘‘It is difficult to leave a team like Bunbury, they’re a good set of lads and they’ve got a good committee,’’ Brooks said.
‘‘I’m sad to leave.’’
Brooks could also not rule out returning to the Force in the future, saying he had ‘‘enjoyed his time’’ at the club.
‘‘But just for the rest of this season I’m looking for a bit more,’’ he said.
The loss has compounded a rotten mid-season stretch for Bunbury, whose last point came against Western Knights in round six.
This Saturday, the Force travel to play rivals Bayswater City.
The fierce rivalry was born two years ago when both outfits were locked in a neck-in-neck Division One promotion battle eventually won by Bayswater.
City’s promotion was a bitter blow to Bunbury, who at the time thought they would be locked out of the top flight for years because of a change in competition rules.
It will be another tough road trip for the Force, up against a classy Bayswater City outfit who are currently fifth on the Premier League table.
Colombian striker and last season’s Golden Boot winner Gustavo Giron-Marulanda is sure to be dangerous in attack, as will partner in crime Gustavo Catarcione.
Defender Patrick Quinn should also line up against his former club.