NEWLY appointed Cats head of player development Matthew Egan is ready to welcome a new era of Geelong talent as the club readies itself for an influx of first-year players.
Geelong heads into this year’s National Draft with a strong hand which includes four second round selections.
Egan is returning to Geelong after a decade away from the club and is champing at the bit to get involved once again.
“I’m really excited – it’s been ten years and changed a lot since my last year in 2011. I’m really excited to get back,” Egan says.
“There are a lot of familiar faces… a few that I played with and a few that I worked with. Obviously, I had a year under Chris Scott as well coaching in 2011. It feels pretty familiar.
“Hopefully I can help Geelong keep progressing and be the great club they’ve always been.”
After time spent at Melbourne as the head of development from 2016 to 2020, Egan knows just what the right injection of young talent can do for a club’s fortunes.
“Next year there’s going to be a little bit of change. Ten players finished up last year and we’re going to have a fair few new ones, so it’s an exciting time for the club," he says.
“You’ve got some premiership players and guys that have had a lot of success and experience and know how to play footy, and also some guys learning the game so it’s a perfect mix.
“It’s a really exciting time... I think we’ll have about seven or eight first year players so it’s a big group."
The 2007 All Australian will look to apply a decade’s worth of football lessons from Melbourne, Essendon and Xavier College to his new position in Geelong.
“I had a really good time and fun experience at Melbourne with the academy group there. It was awesome to see them win the premiership with some young boys you spent some time with," he says.
“(I was) learning around drafting and list building with some great coaches and some high talented players.
“I had five years at Essendon during some tough times… I learned a lot about coaching and people and connection.”
Egan's won't work exclusively with the new first-year Cats, with the head of development ready to help every player on the list add layers to their game.
"I’ll work with all players, so it’s not just the academy group, I’ll work across the list and help improve any player on the list," he says.
"I remember looking at the draft in the Cooper Stephens year, there were some high talented players.
"Even some of the more experienced guys like Esava Ratugolea look really exciting and is still learning the game.
"Then guys like Max Holmes who progressed and got some good games last year. He was a high talented player and elite runner.
"I’m really excited for not just those guys, for anyone on the list and I’m just excited to see how they all progress."