By Natalee Kerr
Geelong has welcomed an array of new faces to the club following the 2019 NAB AFL Draft last week.
The Cats selected Geelong Falcons product Cooper Stephens with pick 16 during the first round of the draft on Wednesday.
The 18-year-old midfielder was “relieved” to remain in his hometown.
“It’s going to be such an opportunity staying in my backyard, (becoming) a bit more comfortable earlier and that transition period is going to be so much easier, ” he told the club last Thursday.
“Geelong’s got one of the best midfields in the competition so (I’m) really looking forward to learning off the best and progressing my game.”
Joining Stephens at Kardinia Park is 200cm-tall defender Sam De Koning, who the Cats selected at pick 19.
The former Dandenong Stingray and 2019 Under-18 All-Australian said being drafted to the Cats was “a dream come true”.
“I’ve always wanted to go to Geelong my whole life, all my siblings live down there. When my name got read out it was just a surreal moment.”
The Cats then selected forwards Francis Evans and Cameron Taheny, with picks 41 and 50 respectively, during the second-round of the draft.
Later in the NAB AFL Rookie Draft, Geelong added mature-aged SANFL player Brad Close to its list, while also re-drafting youngster Oscar Brownless and veteran Lachie Henderson back to the club.