GEELONG heads to next month`s November draft with a potential win already under its belt after highly-touted prospect Ranga Ediriwickrama agreed to join the Cats as a rookie.
Ediriwickrama, a NSW Scholarship holder with Geelong for the past two years, will join the Cats after deciding to stick with the club and resisting the temptation of thrusting his name into the NAB AFL National Draft.
If he had done so any AFL club could have picked up the prolific midfielder.
However by agreeing to stay with the Cats and take a rookie position therefore earning less money in his first year at an AFL club he has essentially foregone an opportunity to be a senior-listed AFL player next year.
Geelong had first rights to the promising youngster given he was in their program via the NSW scholarship system but told the Pennant Hills junior they could not guarantee him a senior spot on its list in 2009.
The Sydneysider had the option of turning his back on the Cats and taking his chances in next month`s national draft, where some recruiters believe the All-Australian might have been selected with as high as a second or third-round pick.
The benefit for the Cats from Ediriwickrama`s decision is that they can now enter next month`s draft with four live selections picks 15, 33, 39 and 49.
Effectively, in Ediriwickrama, they already have a highly-credentialled midfielder waiting in the wings, ready to develop at Skilled Stadium next season.
New AFL rules next year pertaining to rookies, will also give Ediriwickrama a greater opportunity to press for a senior spot in Geelong`s line-up.
AFL clubs will not only possess the opportunity to rookie-list more players in 2009, but after round 11 one rookie will also be able to play senior football outside of rules where in order to do so a rookie needed to be replacing a senior player who had been placed the long-term injury list.