Over the years, many players have shifted between the Altona and Werribee bowls clubs.

Players relocate from one part of the west to another and want to play closer to home.

Other times, players want to be involved with a higher-ranked club at the time.

But never before have so many key players crossed the divide at one time as this season.

Four of Werribee’s stars – Snowy Barker, Dion Warnecke, Rob Panton and Mick O’Neil – have decided to make the move to Altona to play in the Bowls Victoria premier division this season.

This will be a devastating blow for Werribee, which only just managed to avoid relegation from division 1 last season when all four players were skips.

Barker’s decision to leave Werribee is simply about playing at the highest level of bowls that he can.

“It’s a big move for all of us,” he said. “I just wanted to go and play premier league again after it didn’t look possible with Werribee at the present time. That’s all the intentions are – to go and play at the top level.”

Barker has been a stalwart for Werribee.

He leaves the Bees with no animosity and could return to the club as a player in the future.

For now though, Barker will play as a third to Altona skip Dane McKinnon, another former Werribee player who has crossed.

Altona, which has also brought in Nathan Wilson, an Australian Open champion from Essendon, will begin its premier division season on the road at MCC on Saturday, while Werribee’s division 1 opener is against Darebin City on the same day.