Five Cats recommit
THE Geelong Cats have secured the signatures of five players for the next few years, with Max Holmes (2024), Mark O’Connor (2024), Ollie Dempsey (2023), Shannon Neale (2023) and Toby Conway (2025) extending their tenures.
Cats general manager of football Simon Lloyd said the club was excited to see the quintet stay at Kardinia Park.
“It’s a fantastic sign that Max, Mark, Ollie, Shannon and Toby see their futures here at the Cats.
“Max and Mark both have outstanding character and take ownership over driving our club standards.
“They play influential roles within our senior team and are consistently striving to improve the Geelong Football Club.
“For Ollie, Shannon and Toby, while limited in their AFL experience so far, they have all shown strong signs at VFL level and we are excited to see them take the next step in their development.”
Holmes was selected with pick 20 in the 2020 national draft and has already played 12 games in the top flight, including two finals in his debut season.
Despite having suffered an ankle injury earlier this season, Holmes is back in the Cats side and playing a crucial role in the midfield, averaging 14 disposals a game in the process.
“It’s very exciting and I’m looking forward to the next couple of years,” he said.
“We’ve got a winning culture here and we’re having a great year this season, as well as a really good year last year, so hopefully we can keep that going for years to come.
“I’m just happy to be on the ground getting games and we’ve got some really good players, a lot of debutants this year, which has been great.”
O’Connor has become a key figure for the Cats since he was recruited in 2016, and his two-year contract extension will further entrench him in the hearts of Geelong fans.
“It’s exciting times ahead,” O’Connor said.
“We’re always giving ourselves a chance to win, so that’s always enticing, and of course the friendship group over here is really good, I’ve got a really good support system over here now as well.”
O’Connor was also a member of the Cats’ leadership group in the 2020 and 2021 seasons.
Dempsey made his debut in the senior team against North Melbourne back in Round 6 after being selected in the 2021 rookie draft.
Neale was taken at pick 30 in the 2020 national draft and made his AFL debut in Round 11 against the Adelaide Crows.
Conway secured the lengthiest extension, rapidly developing as a ruckman under the tutelage of mentors Josh Jenkins and Geelong premiership player Brad Ottens.