CATS STICKING FAT
MIDWAY through the season, leading Geelong players continue to re-sign with the club, delighting coach Mark 'Bomber' Thompson. Many observers have identified the Cats as one of the most vulnerable clubs to 'poaching' by lowly ranked clubs with draft picks and room in their salary caps.
Last week, captain Steven King was the latest to re-sign, and will surely see out his career at Geelong. Captain in waiting Cameron Ling also re-signed with the club.
Crucially, the on-ball brigade including Corey Enright, Joel Corey, James Kelly, Paul Chapman and Kane Tenace have all been snapped up for 2006 and beyond. James Rahilly, who has barely made it into the AFL side the past twelve months, will also remain with the club.
Up forward, Henry Playfair, Steve Johnson, Charlie Gardiner are locked in. And of course big name recruit, ruckman/forward Brad Ottens has a long term contract.
Down back, while the status of Matthew Scarlett is officially open, there's no way his ties with the club, which began before his birth, will be broken. Darren Milburn, who's spent a fair bit of the year floating in the midfield, has signed, as has David Johnson, who's now cemented a place in the senior side prior to getting injured. Specialist kicker and now regular mark taker Josh Hunt is also confirmed.
The value buy of the past few seasons has been the boy
from Casterton, Jarad Rooke, who recently signed an upgraded contract.
He may have slipped under everyone's radar (including TAC Cup clubs),
but made it into the AFL via Geelong's rookie list. Rooke's father sent
videotapes to coach Mark Thompson of his son playing seniors for Casterton
in the Western Border Football League. Rooke has been solid in the backline
all season whereas some of his higher profile teammates have struggled
Veterans Brenton Sanderson and Peter Riccardi may be in their final season of AFL football.
Brenton Sanderson recently returned after nearly nine months out of the game with injury, and will most likely retire at the end of the season.
Peter Riccardi has been the AFL's premier '19th man' the past two seasons, and having proved a match winner in many games is likely to be encouraged to go on in 2006 should he choose.
Major names yet to commit include Jimmy Bartel, Cameron Mooney and Kent Kingsley. Brian Cook and his team do have some work to do to secure the signatures of and look after the rest of the team before finals time; during which talk of players leaving could prove a disastrous distraction. But the way the team has been build from the ground up should ensure the Cats stick together. Let's hope they have some luck with injury, and get the season back on track and be firing come September, and win the flag that's eluded the club since 1963.
JOEL COREY HAS RE-SIGNED
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