K rock Football

Cats spring Henderson surprise

Lachie Henderson in action in Geelong’s VFL loss to Essendon. (Geelong Cats Image/Arj Giese)

GEELONG has sprung a surprise in Friday morning’s Rookie Draft by selecting delisted swingman Lachie Henderson.

The door was opened for the Cats to bring back the 29-year-old veteran of 171 games when Ryan Abbott, who along with Oscar Brownless was delisted and promised a rookie spot, chose to join St Kilda last week.

Henderson, who played with  Carlton and Brisbane before joining Geelong in 2016, has played 54 games in the Hoops, but just 13 in the last two seasons.

“He’s expressed a great desire to still have a crack at playing AFL footy and trying to help the Cats have some success,” list manager Stephen Wells said.

“Once we weighed up what was available in the Rookie Draft and compared it with Lachie, we went with the guys who’s played really well for us over the last four years.”

However, Wells has rejected suggestions Henderson is only an insurance policy.

“Now he’s back on the list, he’ll hopefully be attacking it as a bit more than an insurance policy;  he may well be in our best side,” Wells said.

“We’ve got the summer for him to put his case forward to be in our Round 1 team.”

CATS: PICK SWAP “TOO COMPELLING”: WELLS

The Cats used their first selection (pick No.14) to grab 21-year-old Glenelg premiership player Bradley Close and its second to retain Brownless.

21-year-old Close, who is 181cm and just 68kgs, came on to the draft radar in the second half of the SANFL season.

He played 21 games and kicked 13 goals in 2019 while averaging 16 possessions per game.

“Despite being a small player, he’s very tough, he’s a good tackler, and a good mark, and runs really well,” Wells said.

“He provides some versatility as hard-running player.

“He’s earned his chance on an AFL list.”

Twitter: @tom_king79