K rock Football

Cats land Falcons guns

Geelong draftee Mitch Knevitt in action for the Geelong Falcons in 2021. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

GEELONG has continued its love affair with local talent, using three picks in Thursday night’s National Draft to select a trio of Geelong Falcons.

Ruckman Toby Conway (St Mary’s/Geelong College) was the first Falcon to hear his name read out with pick 24, followed by tall midfielder Mitch Knevitt (Grovedale) with the following selection at 25.

With the last of their five picks, Knevitt’s Tigers teammate Cooper Whyte joined the Cats with selection 64.

“The three boys thoroughly deserved their opportunity through the draft,” Geelong recruiting boss Stephen Wells said.

“We’re very excited to have Toby and Mitch picked in the 20s; they had outstanding years with the Falcons and the Victoria County team.

“And Cooper Whyte, when he was at his best for the Falcons, looked like someone who should be on an AFL list as well.”

205cm Conway was a member of the AFL Academy, Knevitt claimed the Falcons best-and-fairest, while Whyte was runner-up.

Both Conway and Knevitt were named in the NAB League Team of the Year, with Conway selected despite playing just six matches for the Falcons.

He averaged 13.8 disposals, 2.8 marks and 27 hitouts in those games and has drawn comparisons with Brisbane Lions big man Oscar McInerney.

Knevitt, who was able to make four senior appearances at GFL level, averaged 24.3 disposals for the Falcons and 4.4 clearances and 4.3 tackles.

At the Vic Country Draft Combine, Knevitt recorded 2.98 seconds for the 20m sprint and 6:18 for the 2km time trial.

A talented junior basketballer, Whyte averaged 16.1 disposals, 3.8 clearances and 4.7 tackles in 11 games for the Falcons.

At the Draft Combine, he clocked 3.02 seconds over 20m and 6:32 for the 2km, while recording a running vertical jump of 80 seconds.

The addition of Conway, Knevitt and Whyte takes the number of ex-Falcons on the Cats’ list to 14.

Geelong draftee Cooper Whyte in action for the Geelong Falcons. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

With pick 32, the Cats selected James Willis from North Adelaide.

Described as a hard-edged midfielder, he averaged 24.3 disposals, 3,8 clearances and 4.7 in 12 matches at under-18 level for the Roosters before a leg injury ended his season.

It meant the 183cm Willis could not represent South Australia or feature at the SA Draft Combine.

Geelong’s next pick was due to come at pick 45. However, a swap of selections, which also netted the Cats a future third-round pick, meant the next call was to come at 47.

With it, Geelong bid on St Kilda Next Generation Academy Marcus Windhager from the Sandringham Dragons, which the Saints matched.

That pushed the Cats back to 48, where they selected Flynn Kroeger from NAB League Eastern Ranges.

Geelong will have up to two selections in Friday’s Rookie Draft.

“Depending on the names still on our list, we might leave a spot open or we might have the two selections at the time,” Wells said.

“We’ll do a bit of work on that tomorrow and hopefully add to our list.”

Delisted Geelong midfielder Charlie Constable will continue his career with Gold Coast after the Suns used pick 63 on the midfielder.

“It’s outstanding that Charlie’s getting an opportunity at another AFL club,” Wells said.

“In consultation with Charlie, the whole reason he was put off the list at the end of the year was after he requested an opportunity to get to another club.

“It didn’t happen through the Trade Period, so the fact he’s been picked up now gives him a great opportunity.

“Everyone at the footy club is very happy for Charlie and wish him all the best.”

Twitter: @tom_king79 

FALCONS IN FOCUS: TOBY CONWAY
FALCONS IN FOCUS: MITCH KNEVITT
FALCONS IN FOCUS: COOPER WHYTE