The Geelong Cats have unveiled the jumper numbers of all nine of their new recruits, with some special significance in some of the recruits’ selections.
Geelong midfield recruit Tanner Bruhn is set to wear the number 4 in tribute to a Cats great who was integral to his arrival at GMHBA Stadium.
“Obviously the number was available, but Andrew Mackie, the list manager, he was a big part in getting me to the club,” Bruhn said.
“I actually grew up supporting him and he was one of my favourite players for Geelong, so it’s a bit of a fairytale how it’s all ended up.
“I’m rapt to be able to wear the number four for hopefully the rest of my career at Geelong.”
Bruhn said he was looking forward to wearing the number and hopefully “doing it justice”, following on from previous custodians including Mackie, Gary Ablett Junior, Shaun Higgins, premiership player and coach Bob Davis, and premiership player and Brownlow Medallist Alistair Lord.
Jack Bowes will don the number 12 at the Cats, a number he wore at times throughout his junior football career.
The former Gold Coast Sun admired St Kilda champion Nick Riewoldt growing up, and was pleased to find 12 was available for him to wear at Geelong.
Previous players to wear the number 12 include the likes of Brad Sholl (169 games) and premiership player Ron Hovey (141).
Ollie Henry, who was traded from Collingwood, will claim the locker just two doors down from older brother Jack, taking on the number 36.
Jhye Clark, who was Geelong’s first selection in the 2022 NAB AFL Draft, will don the number 13, in homage to Geelong premiership player Tom Lonergan, who was talent manager at Geelong Falcons as Clark went through to talent pathway.
South Australian tall Phoenix Foster is keen to make his own mark in the number 19 as he embarks on his AFL journey with Geelong.
“We’ve got some family friends who have worn it,” Foster said of why he had chosen the number. “I want to make it my own, make sure my name is up there on top of the locker.”
Geelong Cats Head of Player Development Matthew Egan wore the number 19 during his playing days, while Neville Bruns holds the club record for number of appearances in the jumper, having run out in it on 223 occasions. The number was most recently worn by Quinton Narkle.
Geelong Falcons graduate Oscar Murdoch will wear the number 31, hoping to make the number his own, while the Cats’ newest Irish recruit Oisin Mullin will wear number 34 as he embarks on his first season of Australian Rules football.
Father-Son rookie Osca Riccardi will wear the number of a friend and premiership Cat, choosing the 21 jumper.
“There were a few options, and I saw 21 and it really appealed to me,” Riccardi said.
“A really good mate of mine, Cam Mooney, he wore it, so it’s pretty special to have his number as well.”
Mooney wore the number 21 in 210 matches, including the Cats’ 2007 and 2009 premiership wins.
Geelong Next Generation Academy graduate Ted Clohesy was eager to claim the number 40 in tribute to a couple of former Cats stars he looked up to.
“A couple of players to wear it before, Luke Dahlhaus and (David) Wojcinski, they were great players and I really look up to them a lot,” he said.
“They’ve very good players to try to follow after, so it’s a great honour.”
The number 40 was also worn by Geelong great Ian Nankervis, who held the club games record of 325 games for 33 years, until it was broken by Corey Enright in 2016, and then later Joel Selwood.
By the numbers
4 Tanner Bruhn
12 Jack Bowes
13 Jhye Clark
19 Phoenix Foster
21 Osca Riccardi
31 Oscar Murdoch
34 Oisin Mullin
36 Ollie Henry
40 Ted Clohesy