PROJECT Geelong ruckman Paul Tsapatolis will start the season playing in the NAB League to further aid his development after recently crossing to football.
The Cats signed the 18-year-old as a Category B rookie in November having represented Australia in basketball just 12 months prior.
Now as he continues to learn the ropes of the game he last played as a 15-year-old, Tsapatolis has been granted permission to play for the Western Jets to begin 2021.
Tsapatolis, who turns 19 in June, falls into the age limit for the NAB League this year which will allow 19-year-olds to play after last season was wiped out due to COVID-19. The competition previously had a cap on the number of players aged over 18.
The 202cm ruck prospect has enjoyed a full summer on the training track for the Cats and played his first match for the Jets last Saturday night – collecting eight disposals and 24 hitouts.
Tsapatolis, who has Greek heritage, signed a two-year deal with the Cats but not before interest from rival clubs including a last-minute bid from Essendon.
Tsapatolis can be recalled to Geelong's VFL program at any point throughout the season, with Darcy Fort and Rhys Stanley expected to battle it out for the spot as the club's No.1 ruckman this year.
Fort, who last year inked a new deal until 2022, has now played two VFL practices matches after a pre-season knee injury, will be looking to dislodge Stanley in coming weeks.