NORTH Queensland Fury have lured in-demand young Walsall defender Mark Hughes to swap the West Midlands of England for the Far North of Australia and sign for next season.
The 23 year old had already signed a contract with Walsall for next season, but has been given permission to rip up the deal to let him move Down Under to follow his dream.
"The offer came a little bit out of the blue," Hughes told the Walsall website. "It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I want to give it a go.
"I've really enjoyed my time at Walsall and will miss the players and staff."
Hughes joined the Saddlers from Northampton Town in July 2009 and approached boss Chris Hutchings as soon as he had contact from Australia.
"Mark contacted me late last week regarding the offer," Hutchings said. "We spoke at length about the move and agreed to go our separate ways.
"Mark feels this is an opportunity he wants to pursue and we will not stand in his way."
Walsall will retain Hughes's registration which means the player, who made 28 appearances last season, will not be allowed to play for another English-based club for the next 12 months.