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Cats announce changes

Mark Blicavs of the Cats in action during the 2014 AFL Round 22 match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Geelong Cats at the MCG, Melbourne on August 23, 2014. (Photo: Sean Garnsworthy/AFL Media)
Mark Blicavs has been elevated to the Cats senior list
Geelong has made a number of changes as it prepares for the 2015 season.
 
Midfielder/ruckman Mark Blicavs will be upgraded to the senior list after spending the past three seasons as a category B rookie. Since debuting in round one 2013, Blicavs has gone onto play 45 games, including five finals.
 
“Mark has shown incredible improvement since first joining us in 2012 and has been a very good contributor to our team in the past two years,” Geelong’s general manager of football Neil Balme said.
 
“We believe he still has significant upside and will be able to play a variety of roles.”
 
As previously announced, Irishman Padraig Lucey has been signed as a category B rookie after appearing on the TV show, The Recruit. Lucey is currently in Ireland before returning to begin preparation for pre-season training.
 
“Padraig is a project for us, much as Mark was,” Balme said. “He is a very good athlete and has good size. We believe he has the potential to develop over time and will assist him with that development.”
 
Josh Cowan and James Toohey have had their contracts extended, while Nick Bourke, George Burbury, Jordan Schroder, Jackson Sheringham and Jesse Stringer will not be offered contracts for next season.
 
Cowan has played three senior games but has suffered injury setbacks over the past three seasons. Toohey spent the 2014 campaign on the club’s rookie list and will remain as  a rookie next year.
 
“Josh has suffered through some injuries but we have seen his ability and have confidence that the worst is behind him,” Balme said. “If he stays healthy we have every belief that Josh will be a regular senior player.
 
“James (Toohey) showed improvement through the year and will continue to develop as a rookie next year.
 
“We thank Nick, George, Jordan, Jackson and Jesse for their contributions to the club and wish them every success. It is never easy letting players go, but we hope they receive opportunity at other clubs in the future.
 
“George, Jordan, Jackson and Jesse all received opportunity at AFL level and played in our 2012 VFL premiership.”
 
Bourke was selected with the 31st pick in last year’s rookie draft from the Geelong Falcons and played 15 VFL games in 2014.
 
Burbury was drafted at pick number 40 in the 2010 rookie draft and debuted in round 9, 2013. Burbury was then promoted to the senior list at the end of last year.  In his time at the Cats Burbury played seven AFL and 46 VFL games and was a member of the 2012 VFL premiership team.
 
Schroder was drafted from the Calder Cannons, taken at pick 54 in the 2010 AFL draft. His AFL debut came in round 10, 2012 and he went on to play five senior games for the club. Schroder also enjoyed a successful VFL career in the blue and white hoops. In his time at Geelong, Schroder played 64 VFL games and was a member of the 2012 VFL premiership side. The winner of the 2013 JJ Liston Trophy, Schroder more recently took out the VFL Cats best and fairest award for the 2014 season.
 
Sheringham, a mature-aged midfielder from local club Bell Park, was selected at pick 36 in the 2012 rookie draft after spending 2011 playing for the Cat’s VFL side. Sheringham debuted in round 16, 2012 and continued on to play 12 AFL games. A consistently solid performer at VFL level, Sheringham played 44 games including the 2012 VFL grand final win.
 
Recruited  from SANFL side Port Adelaide, Stringer was taken at pick no.61 in the 2010 rookie draft, he was then elevated to the Cats’ senior list in 2012. Stringer played 19 AFL and 45 VFL games, including the 2012 VFL premiership, during his four years at the club.
 
The club has also restructured its high performance area, and will seek a new head of high performance. The role had previously been split between Kris Hinck and Chris Spinks who will both move on from the club.
 
“Both Kris and Chris made important contributions to our success over the past four years including the 2011 premiership win,” Balme said.
 
“We continue to strive for improvement in the way we operate and we have decided to revamp that area. We wish both all the best in both their professional and personal endeavours.”
 
The club will continue to assess its list with the AFL trade and free agency period coming in October.
The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs