Tuesday, May 14
Geelong Advertiser

GARRY Hocking has made his peace with the Geelong Football Club and has agreed to attend its Hall of Fame ball on June 21.

The club legend revealed in April that he left the club under a cloud last year and had ``issues'' with its hierarchy, including coach Mark Thompson, president Frank Costa and chief executive Brian Cook.

Those issues are understood to have involved Hocking's belief that he could play on for Geelong in 2002 on his ageing legs and that he could also make a contribution from the coaches' box this year, but the club thought otherwise.

Last Thursday at 10am, over coffee at the club, Hocking met with Thompson, Costa and Cook to clear the air.

Hocking yesterday was tightlipped about the meeting but confirmed it did take place and that the matters had been dealt with to his satisfaction.

``It was just something between us and it's been dealt with,'' he said.

President Frank Costa was more forthcoming.

``We met and we had a very pleasant discussion and coffee between us and it was good,'' Costa said.

``We left on very, very good terms and Garry walked away with a smile on his face.

``When I left he was talking to a couple of the chappies from the club in a very happy and relaxed manner.''

Costa said he was particularly upset when he heard about Hocking's displeasure with the club and sought to rectify it immediately.

Costa said it was explained to Hocking at the Thursday meeting that his best chance of building a successful career in Geelong's coaching box was to firstly seek an apprenticeship elsewhere.

``In trying to go forward and looking at the best way to run a football club in this day and age, we liked very much what the West Coast Eagles did with John Worsfold,'' Costa said.

``They didn't bring him on straight away. They asked him to go and serve an apprenticeship with another club and if he was successful in the role and still wanted to coach at the Eagles then to apply.

``A couple of years later that's just what he did and that's exactly what we said to Garry last week and that was the reason behind our thinking last year when we said to him to try and get an apprentice role with another club if he wanted to coach as his career,'' Costa said. ``Garry can understand that now, I believe.''

Hocking ended his 15-year, 274-game playing career on battle-scarred knees that required up to six injections to take the field without pain.

Club doctors told him at the end of the season that he risked long-term health problems if he continued playing.

Against that advice the football addict decided this year to play on and joined North Ballarat, where his role includes midfield coach.

Since the start of the season he has only played a handful of games.