November 12 2003 By Mark Heenan

GEELONG'S connection with struggling WAFL team Peel Thunder seems to be gaining momentum after former Cat Garry Hocking accepted a senior coaching role with the club during the week.

'Buddha' who played 274 AFL/VFL Games with Geelong, applied for one of the two vacant assistant coaching positions going with the Cats, but was unsuccessful after the appointments of Daryn Cresswell and Ken Hinkley.

Hocking, who agreed to a three year contract with Peel Thunder, follows high profile administrator and Ex Football Geelong Boss Phil Clohesy, who was recently appointed as Club CEO.

According to a report in the Geelong Advertiser Clohesy and Hocking have spent the last couple of days addressing a number on field and off field issues on the club. This season Peel Thunder finished on the bottom of the ladder with one win to their credit.

Next season Hocking will be employed as the first full time coach of Peel Thunder, a move that Phil Closesy says the club has to take to be successful.

" I think they reached the mindset that a more professional approach was needed " he said. " By that I mean that you need a full time coach, you need someone with a high profile and Garry certainly meets that criteria. " Closesy said.

Since retiring with Geelong at the end of the 2001 season, Hocking played as an assistant coach at North Ballarat in the VFL in 2002, before coaching the Western Jets to their first finals campaign in seven years in the U/18 TAC Cup this season.

Hocking, who harbours ambitions to coach at AFL level, says the move west is a necessary one.

" This is a great opportunity to develop further on the coaching side, but there's also a bit of footy management involved as well " he told the Herald Sun.

" I spoke to (Dockers coach) Chris Connolly over there and he just said to be patient (for an AFL job) It's better to be prepared for it than jumping in " Hocking said.


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

Buddha: The Garry Hocking Tribute DVD $34.95 at Sports Deliv