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“It’s an easy deal”: Former Collingwood recruiter says Magpies should prioritise tall Cat


Former Collingwood recruiter Matt Rendell has urged the Magpies to prioritise the signing of Cat Esava Ratugolea, who is considered a big chance to depart Kardinia Park in the coming week.

Despite being contracted for 2023, there is plenty of interest in 24-year-old Ratugolea according to Geelong list manager Andrew Mackie, with Port Adelaide considered among the frontrunners.

Ratugolea has primarily been used as a key forward in his 59 games at Geelong but was thrown behind the ball at times in his four appearances in 2022 given the Cats are well stocked up forward.

But Rendell believes the 198cm Cat has to go, declaring he’s unlikely to find a spot in Geelong’s best 22.

“It’ll be interesting to see if they can keep hold of players like Ratugolea,” Rendell began on AFL Trade Radio.

“It’s still hard for him to get in that team.

“Sam De Koning and Jack Henry are going to be in the key defensive positions for the next 10 years… I can’t see how he gets in front of either of those two players.

“He needs to move, he needs to go play, he’s good enough to play.”

Tom Hawkins looks set to play for at least next year, while Jeremy Cameron has plenty of footy left at 29 years of age.

Geelong also blooded Shannon Neale and Oliver Dempsey as key forwards in 2022.

St Kilda GM of football Geoff Walsh confirmed the Saints had had discussions around recruiting Ratugolea, while it’s also understood the tall prospect has met with the Power.

But Rendell believes Collingwood should be in for his services. The Pies are considered likely to land Billy Frampton from Adelaide as a tall swingman option, but Rendell suggested Ratugolea was better placed instead.

He also noted Ratugolea could form part of the trade for Ollie Henry, with the young Magpie recently requesting a trade to Geelong.

“Collingwood should be (in the market for him)... I’d be going for Ratugolea before Frampton, and it’s an easy deal (in a trade) with Oliver Henry,” Rendell added.

The Magpies reportedly want Geelong’s 2022 first round draft pick (pick 18) for Henry, but the Cats are believed to be keen to hold onto their prized selection.

Geelong Collingwood

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