GEELONG is set to lose its valued football manager Steve Hocking to one of the most influential roles in the AFL.
The AFL will today appoint the key Cat as the football operations manager, replacing Simon Lethlean who resigned in July after it emerged that he had an affair with a younger female staff member.
Steve Hocking will be the new AFL operations manager.
Hocking has led the Cats football department since the end of 2014 after the departure of Neil Balme, following a short stint in commercial operations at the club.
The 52-year-old has been a key member of the club’s football department during its run of three premierships in five years between 2007 and 2011.
Hocking also played 199 games for the Cats.
He will face an overhaul of the game’s Match Review Panel system and questions around the future of the centre bounce in his first months in the job.
Hocking will also need to make a decision on the extension of free agency as promised in the latest CBA.
He would be expected to finish up at the Cats at the end of the finals series.
The Cats are anticipating an important trade period, with Suns champion Gary Ablett hoping to return to the club and Giants’ Devon Smith and Jacob Hopper on the club’s radar.
The AFL was forced to search for a replacement for Lethlean when he resigned after just four months in the role following Mark Evans’ departure to the Gold Coast.
AFL legal counsel and game development chief Andrew Dillon has been acting general manager of football.