Emerson Jeka has been touted as a talented and versatile utility for much of his footballing career, but says he is prepared to work hard this swummer to earn a spot in the Cats defensive unit.
Jeka was picked up by the Geelong with the seventh pick in the 2023 AFL Rookie Draft, after spending four seasons with Hawthorn at both AFL and VFL level.
The 22 year old found a home in the forward half in his first two seasons with Box Hill, booting 35 goals in his first 15 games at VFL level, while making seven appearances at AFL level in that span.
But with a fresh start in the blue and white hoops, Jeka said he feels that his best footy is played down back and is committed to making the most of his new opportunity.
"I am really fortunate that Geelong gave me an opportunity, and I can really take that and give it 110 percent to become the best footballer I can be,” Jeka said.
"I think there is an opportunity there, I just need to take that with both hands.
"I feel like I play my best football down back, but I can be versatile and play some good football up forward.
"I think the back line is where I'd love to be, and I'm going to give it everything I can to earn a spot down there.
"I have had a few messages from some of the Cats defenders, Tom Stewart is one I want to have frequent chats with and learn as much as I can from him."
Jeka arrives at GMHBA Stadium after a strong year 2023 campaign in the VFL, anchoring the Box Hill as they made it all the way to a Preliminary Final.
The 22 year old has shown enormous potential with great speed, strong intercepting prowess, and the ability to lock down key forwards.
Jeka said he is hoping to make the most of his opportunity with the Cats, giving everything he has to put his best forward to prove he belongs at the top level.
"I didn't really think I would end up here,” Jeka said.
“I got a call yesterday five minutes before hand and heard I was getting picked up, so I was initially shocked but I am really happy to be here.
I think it is going to give me the best opportunity to become a really good footballer.
You have to aim high and I'm going to do everything I can.
This is the best environment, there are so many good players to learn off and I am going to do everything I can to try and push to play in round one."