K rock Football

Former Cats return to Snakepit

Bailey Cockerill in action for the Geelong Falcons in 2017. (Geelong Falcons Image/Brian Bartlett)

LARA has given its midfield depth a welcome boost with the return of Bayley Cockerill and Aiden Yelland to Bisinella Oval.

Cockerill departed for Bellarine league Barwon Heads at the end of 2019 but didn’t play a game as COVID-19 wreaked havoc with the 2020 season.

While Yelland, who was lured to Lara by former coach Adrian McBean in 2015, played the last of his 20 games in the Hoops in 2018.

The former Northern Blue, who has most recently been playing and coaching in the Northern Territory with PINT, had his career impacted following an off-the-ball incident while playing with the Cats in 2016.

“He wants to have one last crack at playing in a good comp,” Lara coach Shayne Stone said.

“He’s just moved back to Geelong. We thought we might have been able to get him last year, but work and where he was living was just too far away.

“He’s always kept in touch with the club and loves the joint and the boys that are around it, so it’s exciting to get him back.

“He’s a quality fella and a very good player.”


Cockerill, who played 17 games with the Geelong Falcons, was restricted to just 11 senior matches across 2018-19 due to injury.

“Baz needed, with having all the injuries, a little bit of a change – a bit of a spell, I guess,” Stone said.

“And where we were coming from, sometimes you need a rest and a change of scenery to get your love of the game and love of the club back.

“He seems in a really good spot, and his body is getting over all the injuries. So, we’ve got to be mindful we don’t overdo it with him.”


Stone hasn’t ruled out making further additions to Lara’s playing list as they look to record more than three wins in a season for the first time since last playing finals in 2013.

“There’s a couple we’re still talking to that we’re hoping to be able to shore up in the next week or two – another couple of guys that have moved to town,” he said.

Lara will play practice matches against Russells Creek (Warrnambool and District league), Terang-Mortlake (Hampden) and Point Cook (Western Region) before opening its 2021 campaign at home against Geelong West on April 17.

Twitter: @tom_king79