IF THERE'S nothing in the water in Leongatha, then there's definitely something in the milk.
The small dairy town, 135 kilometres south-east of Melbourne, has the honour of producing both captains in the Essendon-Hawthorn opening-round showdown at the MCG on Saturday night in Dyson Heppell and Jarryd Roughead.
In a quirky twist of fate, both will lead their clubs as official captains for the first time and both are returning from a year on the sidelines.
Heppell was one of 10 Bombers banned for doping while Roughead returns after being cleared following a skin cancer battle.
"If you think about it, it's a small country town of about 6000 people and the two of us being captains of quite substantial AFL clubs is very unique," Heppell said.
They both played for the Leongatha Parrots, although not in the same team with Roughead six years older than Heppell.
They crossed paths at home, however, as both had brothers in the others' teams.
Roughead said they hadn't talked about their return to the game and their round one clash.
"We're more there as mates rather than two hours of footy on the weekend," Roughead said.
He didn't think the town folk would gather to watch their two famous sons go head to head and nor did he think they should.
"It's good for the town but when the ball's bounced we're not thinking about 6000 people back home because we're competing against each other," Roughead said.
"It just adds a little bit more to the storyline that is Essendon and the Hawks and their great rivalry."