K rock Football

New deals for Cats defenders

TOM Atkins’ impressive transformation into a rebounding defender has earned him a two-year contract extension with Geelong.

The Cats have announced new deals for Atkins and fellow backman Jake Kolodjashnij, who resisted exploring free agency by signing a new three-year contract.

Atkins, 25, has played every game in 2021 after being dropped following last year’s qualifying final loss to Port Adelaide.

Drafted by the Cats in the 2019 rookie draft after starring with the club’s VFL team, Atkins had played 35 of a possible 43 games before being omitted.

He is averaging a career-high 19 disposals per game.

Kolodjashnij joined Geelong with pick No.41 in the 2013 National Draft from Launceston and has played 118 games.

However, he is yet to kick a goal for the Cats, third only behind Gary Malarkey (172 games) and Bruce Morrison (130) for most games at the club with registering a six-pointer.

“Both Tom and Jake are important, versatile members of our team and epitomise a team-first approach in everything they do,” football boss Simon Lloyd said.

“Tom has shown he is strong in the contest, can play a variety of roles, having started as a forward who could go into the midfield, and this year transitioning into a defensive role.

“Jake can play on all types of opponents, and that gives us flexibility in terms of our match ups down back. He is a quality player, and we are pleased to have secured both players.”

The re-signing of Atkins and Kolodjashnij still leaves 20 players without a deal for 2022.

They includee captain Joel Selwood, reigning best-and-fairest Cam Guthrie, fellow midfielders Quinton Narkle, Charlie Constable and Cooper Stephens, forwards Esava Ratugolea and Gary Rohan, defenders Lachie Henderson and Jed Bews, and ruck Rhys Stanley,

Twitter: @tom_king79