Just when you think defending Blowes Clothing Cup premiers Orange Emus can't get any stronger, the men in green go and add another proven star to the fold.
The undefeated champions have welcomed NSW Country Cockatoos halfback Shahid Khalfan ahead of the 2021 season, the former Harden Red Devil set to join forces with younger brother Jamil at Endeavour Oval.
Khalfan shapes as the likely candidate to replace darting scrum-half Sam Green after his move following last winter's premiership, although he's aware that No.9 jersey won't won't fall into his lap.
Particularly not with rumours of the return of multiple title-winner TJ Cunynghame, who would provide more competition and certainly depth in Emus' half stocks.
"I'm going to put my hand up to play nine but I know there's a huge amount of talent at the club, I'm happy to help out wherever I can but we'll just see what happens," Khalfan said.
On top of his glittering, Oilsplus Cup-winning stint at Harden, Khalfan has experience in Europe and led the Central West Blue Bulls to a drought-ending NSW Country Championship win in 2019.
He won player-of-the-tournament at Tamworth and subsequently earned a Cockatoos jersey, making his comments of the evident winning attitude at Emus even more significant.
"On the outside looking in, it looks like a really good club and it's the same on the inside too," he said.
"It's obviously a very successful club and that's a product of good culture."
It's been a while since the brothers Khalfan linked on-pitch, the last time coming for Harden in 2018 before Jamil's shift to Orange the following year. Shahid, now, has also moved to Orange.
He's naturally excited to combine with his brother on the park, but isn't under any illusions about who'll make more of an impact.
"Jamil possesses for more talent than his other brothers," he laughed.
"If I do get the chance to play with him, the more ball I can get to him the better."
Jamil claimed Emus' top individual gong last year after being one of the club's most-impactful players in 2020 and could be even more crucial this year.
Nigel Staniforth is another member of Emus who Shahid Khalfan hasn't had a whole lot to do with but, based on how the sharpshooter has looked at pre-season training, he expects to see him on the field this winter.
"Based on how he's been training, I'd say it'll be both again this season," he said.
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