Cobram’s Esava Ratugolea has received a contract extension from Geelong which guarantees his time at the Cattery continues until at least the end of 2019.
The Cats re-signed Ratugolea, along with Tom Stewart with little fanfare.
The pair were recruited in the 2016 national draft with Ratugolea selected at pick 43, with Stewart taking slightly earlier with selection 40 from Geelong’s VFL side.
Having impressed with the Murray Bushrangers that year despite missing games early in the season due to a knee injury, Ratugolea became a valuable member of the Bushies line-up.
But he did not make his AFL debut until this season, but has already showed positive signs whether running through the forward line or in the ruck as he competes with Rhys Stanley and Zac Smith for a permanent ruck spot.
The athletic player impressed on debut against Melbourne and coach Chris Scott yesterday said he would give Ratugolea every opportunity.
‘‘He’s very exciting, I’m not sure whether he’s more exciting as a ruck or key forward, even around the ground he’s really competitive for us,’’ Scott said.
‘‘It’s difficult to get too excited about a second game player but he’s someone that we think long-term has the potential to be a very good player.
‘‘He’s in the team in front of others who have played a lot more footy, so I think that’s a good sign for us in the short-term as well.’’
In preparation for Geelong’s match against St Kilda tomorrow afternoon, Scott will consider all options for where Ratugolea could start.
‘‘We have a few options (in the ruck) but we’ve just decided that we’re not going to settle on one option when we’re not happy with the output,’’ he said.
‘‘That may sound a little hard on some of those guys but they’re really clear that the opportunity is there for one or more of them to take.’’