The door on Geelong defender Tom Ruggles’ AFL career is not completely shut, with coach Chris Scott revealing he is a chance to be re-drafted by the Cats.
In a media release on Monday, Geelong announced that Ruggles and the untried Matthew Hayball had both been delisted, taking their tally of post-season departures to seven.
While the release stated that the Cats were committed to re-drafting Hayball in the rookie draft if he was still available, the same couldn’t be said for Ruggles with the club only saying he wouldn’t be offered a contract extension.
Suffice to say the outlook was grim for Ruggles, who has played 22 games for the Cats, 18 of which coming in 2016 including their thrilling after-the-siren qualifying win against Hawthorn.
However, it appears the 25-year-old has some cause for optimism this month.
“Absolutely he is,” Scott told SEN when asked if Ruggles remains in contention for a spot on Geelong’s list.
“It was a really difficult situation, he can count himself a little bit unlucky but he has absolutely been invited to stay around the club and use the facilities and prepare himself so that he can be in good shape if he does get another opportunity.
The retirements of defensive mainstays Tom Lonergan and Andrew Mackie would seemingly boost Ruggles’ chances of a lifeline.
A combination of injury and form meant Ruggles last played for the Cats in round four this year.
If he does manage to work his way back onto Geelong’s playing list, he will have the privilege of calling returning superstar Gary Ablett his teammate.
Scott said the whole club was abuzz at the prospect of their favourite son returning to Kardinia Park after seven years with Gold Coast.
“He’s contracted for a couple of years but he’s confident he can play beyond that,” Scott said.
“It’s exciting for me, it’s exciting for everyone at Geelong, in particular for our young players that have thrived going about their craft day to day with Joel Selwod and Patty Dangerfield.
“So to add Gary to that, it’s going to be brilliant for their learning experience.”
Scott won’t have to wait long to know what it’s like to use Ablett in a matchday scenario. The Geelong coach will take the reins of the Australian international rules side this month and Ablett is a squad member.
Australia will face Ireland in a two-test series at Adelaide Oval (November 12) and Domain Stadium (November 18).