In a team containing the midfield brilliance of Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood, and the all-round champion skills of 350-gamer Gary Ablett, it might seem incongruous to suggest a raw 33-gamer is one of Geelong's most pivotal players.
But Ratugolea sits in that group for the Cats.
Structurally, Ratugolea is crucial for Geelong's hopes this year, which was evident on Saturday night against Gold Coast.
Ratugolea wasn't a standout, but his second half – when he flew for several big marks and competed as a target up the ground – was critical in the Cats' 37-point victory.
The 21-year-old was rewarded for his efforts by featuring in the Round 5 coaches votes.
With Tom Hawkins the Cats' focal point deep in attack, Ratugolea needs to become more hit and less miss and be a consistent centre half-forward option if Geelong is to challenge for the flag.