Ratugolea departs after drawn-out negotiations

October 19, 2023 8:04 am in by
Geelong big man Esava Ratugolea. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

Geelong big man Esava Ratugolea has got his wish to join Port Adelaide, with the Cats improving their draft hand as part of the exchange.

With less than three hours left in the trade period, the Cats dealt the 25-year-old to the Power in return for picks 25, 76 and 94 at next month’s National Draft.

“Right now, that 76 is our third pick of the draft, that’ll come in with all the Gold Coast bids and everything involved, so that was the thinking there,” Cats Football Boss Andrew Mackie told AFL Trade Radio.

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“We do value every pick, we’ve known all year we’re probably working in the back end of the draft,” he said.

“Hopefully it comes in a bit and we can find a player.”

Mackie said the club is confident it landed on a good deal, despite initially declining the Port Adelaide’s first offer of pick 25 on its own.

“I’ve spoken around trying to maximise a deal if Esava was to go and that was my job to try and do that.

“I feel like it’s landed in a good spot for both parties.”

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Ratugolea, who was chased by Port while still under contract at the end of last year, played 75 games in the Hoops after arriving at Kardinia Park via pick no.43 in the 2016 National Draft.

His best game return came in 2019 when he made 20 appearances, including three of his five finals, and kicked 15 goals,

“Esava is a quality person who has been committed to our football program, and we wish him all the best in his football future,” Mackie said.

“While we are disappointed to lose Esava, we acknowledge he was out of contract and requested a trade to Port Adelaide.

“We have now strengthened our 2023 draft hand and remain open-minded to possibilities heading into the Draft.”

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Geelong will take selections 8, 25, 76, 87 and 94 into next month’s draft.


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