LOATS FUTURE HANGS ON GRAHAM'S NFL PUNT
THE future of embattled big man David Loats at Geelong, could hinge on Ben Graham's aspirations to be a Punter in the NFL.
Graham, who has just returned from the US, trialed with the Minnesota Vikings last week, after completing series of auditions with 3 other NFL clubs.
According to Ron Flatter, who has spent 25 years as an ESPN reporter, says the chances of Graham earning more money in his first season with a NFL club, as opposed to the Cats, would be very unlikely.
"There's no way you can make $1million dollars in your first season as a punter," Flatter told the Geelong Advertiser, who is the International Sports Editor on Sport 927.
After 5 seasons with Hawthorn, 23-year-old Loats, who moved to the Cattery this time last year, has struggled for senior selection this season, through a series of chronic knee problems and poor form.
Last week, Loats was widely tipped to be among one of Geelong's four delistings for the season, following the arrival of ex-Tiger Brad Ottens.
Instead on-baller David Spriggs and Daniel Foster were given their marching orders, while James Allan and Jeff Smith were omissions from the Cats Rookie list.
Ironically both Graham and Loats hail from Leopold, where both played the majority of their junior football.
After being drafted from the Geelong Falcons in 1998 at pick 51, Loats has played 12 AFL games, 11 with Hawthorn (1999-2003), managed one game with the Cats this season against the Kangaroos in Round 12.
MEANWHILE in other club news, former Cat Leigh Tudor has been appointed as Geelong's VFL coach for next season. 35-year-old Tudor replaces Ron Watt, who has taken on an expanded role as the club's manager of player development. Tudor, joins, ex-Melbourne and West Coast footballer, Andy Lovell, who becomes Geelong's new midfield coach, following Daryn Cresswell's departure to the Brisbane Lions.
Tudor, is best remembered for kicking the ball to Gary Ablett, in the 1994 Preliminary Final, that eventually put Cats into the Grand Final, played 60 games with Geelong. More recently he has been involved at TAC Cup level, helping the Calder Cannons to premiership glory in 2001 and 2003 as an assistant coach. In 2004, Tudor took the reigns as coach of the Western Jets.
Lovell, who retired in 1998, after playing 164 games with the Demons and the Eagles, served an apprenticeship as coach of East Perth in the WAFL, for the last 2 seasons.
BEN GRAHAM IN ACTION DURING THE 2004 WIZARD HOME LOANS CUP SEMI FINAL
DAVID LOATS IN HAPPIER TIMES (IN WIZARD HOME LOANS CUP OPENER, TWO WEEKS PRIOR TO INJURING HIS KNEE)