By Luke Voogt
Geelong ruckman Rhys Stanley has signed a one-year contract extension while Irish expat Zach Tuohy has signed for another two years with the Cats.
Stanley, 29, joined the Cats for the 2015 season and had a solid 2020, holding his own against and at times beating some of the best rucks in the AFL.
He also enjoyed some success up forward in the Cats’ finals campaign as a market target drifting into the 50.
The 2m ruckman played 11 games in 2020, including all four finals, and kicked 10 goals.
He has played 86 games in the navy and white hoops for a total of 144 since making his AFL debut for St Kilda, with 94 goals to date.
Tuohy, 30, joined Geelong in 2017 and has played 85 games for the Cats.
This year he became just the second Irish player to reach the 200-game milestone in the AFL, and has played a total of 205 games with Carlton and Geelong.
Tuohy enjoyed a flexible role in 2020, playing in all three areas of the ground.
Usually a defender, the tough, long-kicking Irishman spent some time in the Cats’ midfield this year and has always been a dangerous goal-kicker from 50m and beyond.
He played all four finals and has been a leader at Geelong.
“Both Rhys and Zach have become key parts of our team over the years and we are pleased they will be continuing with us,” Geelong’s football general manager Simon Lloyd said.
“We believe they will help us to continue to challenge for finals and a premiership. Both are great around the club and influential in the community. They are proud to be Geelong players.”
The re-signings come after Geelong secured North Melbourne flanker Shaun Higgins, 32, Hawthorn midfielder Isaac Smith, 31, and GWS full-forward Jeremy Cameron, 27 during the trade period earlier this month.
The Cats secured 2019 Coleman Medallist Cameron just before the 7.30pm trade period deadline last Thursday.
The Cats sent picks 13, 15 and 20 and a future fourth-round selection to the Giants in return for Cameron and two future second-round selections.
Cameron has played 171 games and has kicked 427 goals. The Cats have now signed the 27-year-old on a five-year deal worth about $900,000 per season.
“It is rare that a player of Jeremy’s talent becomes available and we are thrilled that he will be playing for us for the rest of his career,” Geelong’s recruiting and list manager Stephen Wells said.
The Cats believe Higgins can take on an Ablett-esque role next year, according to Wells.
“Specifically, we think with Gary Ablett retiring there’s an opportunity there for an experienced, super-skilful and talented player to play that same sort or role that Gary did,” he told AFL Trade Radio last week.
“Even added to that, I think Shaun is going to play a bit more inside mid this year as well. That’ll depend on how all the other inside mids are going. So where Gary was and inside mid as well.”