Cats will change recruiting, says coach - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cats will change recruiting, says coach

By Roger Vaughan 04/03/2010 06:38:45 PM Comments (0)

Geelong will overhaul their recruiting strategy to cope with the impending arrival of the two expansion clubs and free agency, coach Mark Thompson says.

The Cats are already feeling the effects of the massive changes that will unfold in the competition over the next three years.

Gary Ablett is at the top of Gold Coast's recruiting list and the Cats are also trying to retain Joel Selwood.

Thompson says it is "too early to tell" whether Ablett and Selwood will stay, with their decisions expected later this year.

Following Gold Coast's AFL debut next year, Western Sydney will join the competition in 2012 and the league will introduce free agency.

"We just to look at the way we do business, because it's a big change in the rules of the game ... free agency and two new teams in three years," Thompson said.

"It's just huge, it's going to have consequences on the quality of players you can get, how you contract players and how you do business.

"We're doing a lot of work in planning and coming up with blueprint on how we want to go forward."

A glance through Geelong's current list shows they have largely shunned trading in favour of the draft, including father-son picks.

But Thompson says that must change, especially once free agency arrives.

"We've been a club that has traditionally recruited and developed our own players," he said.

"But in saying that, if you get some players walking out on you after eight years of service, we might be forced to change the way we do business and look at another way of doing it, and that's by getting some ready-made players from other clubs.

"We've been good at adapting to all the rules and the way we do business, I'm sure we'll be okay."

Adelaide coach Neil Craig has said a club's environment will become even more important as it becomes harder to retain players.

Geelong have become renowned for their strong culture and it is regarded as a key factor in them making the last three grand finals for two premierships.

But Thompson warns that the forces of change in the game might be stronger than the pull of club loyalty.

"If you can't service your players with what they require out of the game, I would think even the best of people in the best of clubs will probably still get some movement of players," he said.

"That's what the AFL and the players' association want - we accept that, that's the rules.

"You'd hope that if you have a good club and players are happy at a club, they will accept less to be at your club, but I don't think that's guaranteed any more.

"Those two new clubs will have a huge amount of incentives, just massive incentives."

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