Jake Kolodjashnij ready to re-sign with Geelong after breaking into Cats line-up

Jake Kolodjashnij3EMERGING Geelong defender Jake Kolodjashnij has declared he wants to stay at the Cats, as rivals clubs circle for his services.

The 19-year-old is the future of Geelong’s ageing defence and has flourished under the tutelage of former champion Matthew Scarlett.

The second-year defender earned praise from coach Chris Scott for a strong performance on Saturday in just his second AFL game.

Kolodjashnij has been forced to bide his time in the VFL behind an established back six led by Harry Taylor, Tom Lonergan, Jared Rivers and Andrew Mackie.

His long-term signature will hinge on the likelihood of regular senior opportunities in the coming seasons, especially if the Cats secure Carlton swingman Lachie Henderson.

“I’m loving the club at the moment,” Kolodjashnij said.

“I really want to sign a contract here and I think my manager is doing some work with the club at the moment.

“He just wants me to concentrate on my footy at the moment, so hopefully that can get done soon enough and hopefully I can stay at the Cats.”

Gold Coast and Brisbane have been linked with the Tasmanian.

The Cats have locked away a number of their young guns in previous weeks, but Kolodjashnij’s signature beyond this year remains outstanding.

His brother Kade has been a regular part of the Gold Coast side for the past two years, fuelling a hunger for Jake to play more AFL matches.

Rivers and Corey Enright are set to retire at season’s end, while Lonergan has a year to run on his contract and Mackie’s future will be decided over the coming weeks.

“Those boys are playing some really good footy, hopefully they can stick around for a few more years,” Kolodjashnij said.

“I definitely know there’s going to be some opportunities in the future years if I can secure a spot.

“I knew it was going to be a bit of a wait-and-see situation with a lot of experienced players in the backline.

“But I’m happy to be in the side at the moment and playing with some great players and really enjoying my footy.”

Scarlett is working directly with the 193cm defender after returning to the Cats in a part-time development coach role and has been buoyed by the progress of Kolodjashnij, who finished fourth in the VFL best and fairest in his first season.

“I’m looking to stay here,” Kolodjashnij said.

“I’ve settled in really well and the transition has been really good. I’m all settled in at Geelong and loving the place, the players and playing footy here.”