Tuohy has been helping new Cats recruit Rachel Kearns.

Zach Tuohy is embracing his role as a mentor as Geelong’s Irish contingent continues to grow.

Geelong’s group of Irish imports is now at four with the recent signings of Mayo’s Oisin Mullin and Rachel Kearns to the AFL and AFLW programs respectively.

Kearns is the Cats’ first AFLW import and has landed at the perfect club with Tuohy already taking the 24-year-old under his wing.


“Zach has got in contact with me and we started off going for a coffee – me and Zach and Mark (O’Connor),” Kearns says.

“He was down at the club one day and said, ‘would you join for a kick?’

“I said, ‘yeah, no problems,’ and we’ve met up two or three times now.”

As the current most experienced Gaelic convert in Australia and just 38 games shy of Jim Stynes’ all-time record, Tuohy wants to play his part in continuing the Irish tradition down under.

“I’m just trying to help with the transition a little bit,” Tuohy says.

“I get a real kick out of the Irish guys and girls now coming out. It’s a long time ago that I first started I can still remember the challenges that I first had.

“There’s a few of us at the club now, so it kind of does feel a little bit like we should look after each other and the more Irish players that are successful out here, the better for all of us.

“If I can help them in any way I will.”

When it comes to Kearns, that help comes in the form of individual kicking sessions alongside Tuohy and Cats assistant Nigel Lappin.

“The base she’s coming from is very, very high so I’m not sure I’ve actually contributed too much at this point,” Tuohy says.

“One of the problems I had when I started was I had a tendency to want to kick everything really low and hard.

“Rachel is already exceptional at that kick, so we’re just working on moving from that type of kick to more weighted kicks to advantage.”

Kearns says Tuohy’s impact has already been more than he lets on.

“It’s been really good, I’m really enjoying it and getting really good cues off him.

“We have a good understanding obviously because we’ve both used the round ball at the start.

“Between himself and Nigel they’ve been so good, even just the little tips I find so beneficial.

“I didn’t think I’d be able to adapt as well with the rugby-shaped ball but it’s been better than what I expected to be honest.”


Tuohy sees a bright future for the club’s AFLW trailblazer.

“She’s already clearly an exceptional athlete – that’s’ the type of player that gets brought out here from Ireland,” he says.

“She’s been hugely successful back home so she’s going to have no trouble adapting to the game in terms of how dynamic it is.

“The skills component is usually the part that takes time for the Irish players but she’s far more advanced than I was expecting so I suspect she’s going to be one of the club’s better players already.”