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VFL Cats finalise list

The VFL Cats welcome recruit Ryan Williams from the Central Districts.

The Geelong VFL Cats have announced their squad of 23 players, plus development squad of three players, for season 2015.

The Cats are aiming to improve on their 2014 campaign, in which they narrowly missed playing in a third straight VFL finals series.

There has been a large turnover of players, although the most significant change will be in the coach’s box where Paul Hood, who takes over from Matthew Knights after four years as Geelong’s academy co-ordinator, is now at the helm.

Among the new players are former Geelong Falcon and Port Adelaide midfield/defender Ryan Williams, who has played with Central Districts in the SANFL since 2008. The strongly built 26-year-old will bring leadership and experience to the playing group after featuring in three premierships with Central Districts. Williams was awarded second place in the Bulldogs’ 2014 best and fairest. He will play for interchange club St Joseph’s when not required by the Cats.

Jackson Sheringham, who was delisted from Geelong's AFL squad at the end of last season, will also bring AFL experience to the side. Sheringham played 12 AFL games with the Cats after being selected with pick 36 in the 2012 Rookie Draft. The highly respected midfielder can play a number of different roles, evident through his career with Geelong, Werribee and Bell Park. Sheringham’s interchange club for 2015 will be Bell Park.

Another key addition in the offseason has been the return of ruckman Sandy Robinson, who is welcomed back onto the list after playing with VFL club Port Melbourne in 2014. The return of the 27-year-old is a win-win for both Robinson and the Cats as work commitments made life hard playing away from Geelong for the ruckman. Robinson will fill the vacant spot in the ruck left by the departing Andrew Banjanin. He will pull on the boots for Newtown & Chilwell when not required by the Cats.

Geelong has also acquired former Bendigo Gold midfielder Matthew Farrelly after his former club disbanded at the conclusion of the 2014 VFL season. Farrelly played every game for the Gold in the past two years and the speedster was one of their most consistent performers throughout his tenure at the club. The 21-year-old will line up for Modewarre when not used by Coach Paul Hood.

The Cats have secured the Leopold pair of Tom Ruggles and Simon Close, who played a vital role in the Lions’ run to a GFL Grand Final in 2014. Both players, who are 22 and 24 years old respectively, received GFL Team of the Year honours following their successful campaign.

2014 GFL Rookie of the year Brenton Rees joins the Cats after a solid season at St Joseph’s and is eligible to play five matches as a 23rd player, while 18-year-old inside midfielder Nick Dixon also qualifies as a 23rd player and is eligible to play five matches. Dixon, whose interchange club will be South Barwon, represented Vic Country in 2014 along with playing his football for Geelong Grammar and the Geelong Falcons.

The Cats’ development squad will consist of young talent in Ryley Stuhldreier (interchange club South Barwon), Marcus Thompson (Leopold) and Josh Guthrie (Sunbury), who is the younger brother of AFL midfielder Cameron Guthrie.

Four players from the 2014 development squad, Brant Hainz, Tom Atkins, Stephen Bensted and Paul Burchell, have been upgraded to the VFL list, but James Darke and Callen Wade have not been retained.

Other outgoing players are stalwart Dom Gleeson (Torquay), James Linton (Colac), Kane Leersen (Colac), Andrew Banjanin (St Mary’s), Chris Lynch (Bell Park), Jay Lever (South Barwon) and Jordan Duncan (St Mary’s). Matthew Sully and Luke Bath have headed interstate to ply their trade. Mark Corrigan has also finished his playing time with the Cats due to his appointment as Development Coach at Essendon.

The Bendigo Bank Cats will line up against Collingwood VFL for a practice match on Saturday, March 14 at Simonds Stadium, with the game kicking off at 12pm. The Cats will then play practice matches each Saturday for three weeks following the match against the Magpies.


2015 VFL List (including 2015 Interchange Club):

Retained: Jack Hollmer (Port Fairy), Ben Raidme (South Barwon), Tom Maas (South Barwon), Daniel Gibbs (St Joseph’s), Mitch Herbison (South Barwon), Zak Sherman (St Mary’s), Dane McFarlane (Newtown & Chilwell), Cameron Tudor (St Joseph’s), Kieren Paliouras (St Joseph’s), Tom Atkins (St Joseph’s), Fraser Fort (South Barwon), Daniel Measures (St Joseph’s), Stephen Bensted (Drysdale), Brant Hainz (St Joseph’s), Paul Burchell (Torquay)

New: Ryan Williams (St Joseph’s), Jackson Sheringham (Bell Park), Sandy Robinson (Newtown & Chilwell), Matthew Farrelly (Modewarre), Simon Close (Leopold), Tom Ruggles (Leopold), Nick Dixon (South Barwon), Brenton Rees (St Joseph’s)

Development Squad: Josh Guthrie (Sunbury), Ryley Stuhldreier (South Barwon), Marcus Thompson (Leopold)


2015 VFL Playing List

50. Ryan Williams
51. Jackson Sheringham
52. Jack Hollmer
53. Matthew Farrelly
54. Cameron Tudor
55. Simon Close
56. Mitch Herbison
57. Tom Ruggles
58. Fraser Fort
59. Tom Maas
60. Sandy Robinson
61. Ben Raidme
62. Daniel Measures
63. Zak Sherman
64. Tom Atkins
65. Daniel Gibbs
66. Stephen Bensted
67. Keiran Paliouras
68. Nick Dixon
69. Dane McFarlane
70. Brenton Rees
71. Brant Hainz
72. Paul Burchell

Development Squad:
Ryley Stuhldreier
Josh Guthrie
Marcus Thompson


Practice Match Schedule

Practice Match 1 – Bendigo Bank Cats Vs Collingwood VFL
Saturday 14th March, 12pm @ Simonds Stadium
Entry via Polly Farmer Gate, Moorabool Street

Practice Match 2 – Bendigo Bank Cats Vs Richmond VFL
Saturday 21st March, 12pm @ Simonds Stadium
Entry via Polly Farmer Gate, Moorabool Street

Practice Match 3 – Bendigo Bank Cats Vs Footscray Bulldogs
Saturday 4thApril (Easter Saturday), 11am @ Simonds Stadium
Entry via Polly Farmer Gate, Moorabool Street

Practice Match 4 – Bendigo Bank Cats Vs Essendon VFL
Saturday 11thApril, 12pm @ True Value Solar Centre – Essendon Training Facility, 275 Melrose Drive, Melbourne Airport.


The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs