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Veteran Cat earns new AFL contract

AAP logoAAP 1/11/2016 Jason Phelan

Veteran Geelong defender Tom Lonergan has earned a new one-year deal as the Cats finalise their AFL playing list.

The 32-year-old's future had been under a cloud as the club waited until after the trade and free agency periods before offering him a new contract to play a 15th season.

Lonergan continued to play at a high level in 2016, appearing in 22 of a possible 24 games to take his career tally to 186.

Rarely-used midfielder Josh Cowan has also agreed to a new one-year deal.

"We are really pleased to have both Tom and Josh on board for another year," football boss Steve Hocking said.

"Their football talent, character and the way in which they live our values is an asset to the club.

"Tom's football is still of the highest quality and we are confident he will continue to be a leader and mentor to our young defenders in 2017.

"Josh is a young man with resilience and his work ethic and attitude towards his football is why he is so respected within the club.

"When things haven't fallen his way, Josh's character has never wavered and we look forward to seeing Josh enjoy continuity in his football."

Lonergan's chances of playing on next year were boosted when fellow veterans Corey Enright and Jimmy Bartel retired.

The Cats also upgraded defender Tom Ruggles from the rookie list and signed Irishman Mark O'Connor as an international rookie.

"The transition from Gaelic football to our game is never easy, but we know that Mark will do everything he can to make that switch a success," recruiting manager Stephen Wells said.

"He has a great work ethic and a commitment to come to Geelong and do all the work necessary to become an AFL player."

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