B Jensen November 11 2003

FORMER GEELONG CAPTAIN and record four time Carji Greeves Medal Garry 'Buddha' Hocking is to move the family over to Mandurah, south of Perth, to coach WAFL side Peel Thunder. Buddha, who signed up for three years, commences work with the Thunder on November 24. Originally recruited from Cobram, Hocking played 274 games and kicked 243 goals for the Cats between 1987 and 2001. He is one of the most popular players to every pull on the blue and white hoops, always willing to have a chat to fans or, along with wife Melina, give a kid a lift home after training (yours truly included).

After retiring from Geelong at the end of 2001, Hocking was a playing assistant coach at VFL club North Ballarat in 2002, and coach of TAC Cup Under 18 side the Western Jets in 2003. He sought a job at AFL clubs Geelong, Hawthorn and the Western Bulldogs the past two seasons, but was overlooked. Hocking believes that he must continue to step up to more senior roles if he is to get a chance at AFL level.

In an interesting twist, former Football Geelong CEO Phil Clohesy is the new Peel CEO. Club chairman Ray Ball could not hide his elation "The club has made a strategic decision in appointing Phil Clohesy as CEO, which has already paid dividends by him sourcing and helping to negotiate the appointment of Garry Hocking".

Hocking will waste no time in recruiting players to the Thunder, "We need to make sure we form an identity for players at Peel so that kids in the area coming through want to be like Derek Hall, Josh Parsons and Daniel Haines. We've let all the players know they are wanted players. I'll be doing one-on-one interviews with them so I can find out from them where they think they can improve and what their hopes are for the club."

The Peel Thunder is based in the beautiful coastal town of Mandurah, located just under an hour from Perth. Garry Hocking spoke to radio station Sport927 this morning (HEAR THE AUDIO), admitting that moving the family was the hardest thing to come to terms with. The Hockings currently live in one of the premier streets in Grovedale, a suburb of Geelong. While they may find real estate in Mandurah a tad more expensive, you certainly can't get a waterfront (or 'canal-front') property in Victoria like you can in WA.

"Hopefully it is a good move both for Peel and for Garry Hocking"