Jake Kolodjashnij stays true

446136-4435d83e-84dc-11e4-a8d6-4d3e748ac3ceTHE CATS have landed another prized signature, with emerging defender Jake Kolodjashnij signing a new contract with the club.

“I’m rapt with how’s it’s all come together,” the 20-year-old told geelongcats.com.au.

“I’ve been hanging out for a while to re-sign, so I’m rapt to be on board.

“It’s been great to see so many of the other younger boys signing up. I think we’ve got a really good bond.

“We’ve got a really exciting group that can have some success in the future, which is great for the club.”

Geelong’s general manager of football, Steve Hocking, was delighted to have secured the youngster from Tasmania.

“Jake is a talented defender and is someone we see as a major part of our long term future,” Hocking said.

“Jake has spent a large amount of time in our VFL system, which has served him well.

“When he stepped up to AFL-level he showed poise and maturity to handle some big jobs that the coaching staff gave him.

“He reads the game well and has fitted into our backline very well. Jake is a player that is constantly working to get better, and we believe he will continue to improve.

“We see Jake as a key part of our backline next year and for many more years to come.”

Kolodjashnij, who was selected by Geelong with pick 41 in the 2013 national draft, made his AFL debut against Melbourne in Corey Enright’s 300th game.

He missed the round 15 loss to North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium, then returned to the AFL side for the remainder of the season.

He ended up playing nine games in all at the highest level, averaging 14 disposals and four marks per game.

“I started off in the VFL, and I was very happy to finish off in the AFL team. That was my goal,” he said.

“I got some good experience and hopefully I can lock myself into a spot in our best 22 for the start of next season, then go on from there.”

Kolodjashnij, who has worked closely with champion backman Matthew Scarlett, was a very consistent performer during the latter rounds, demonstrating his elite skills while matching up well on opponents both big and small.

He lined up on Eddie Betts in the round 23 win over Adelaide. Betts kicked four goals, yet Kolodjashnij did his bit for his team, gathering 12 disposals (at 75 per cent efficiency), laying four tackles and performing six one-percenters.

“Talking to the coaches, they want me to be able to play on tall and small players,” he said.

“Playing on Eddie Betts was a good thing for me in the last round. I learned heaps from that.

“He probably had the better of me on the day, but it was something to learn from, and I really want to be able to play on those types of guys in the future.”

Kolodjashnij now heads off for a well-deserved holiday before returning for the build-up to the Cats’ 2016 campaign.

“I’ll enjoy the off-season by getting a good mental break away from the game,” he said. “Then I’ll come back in good shape for pre-season.

“I want to keep getting better and better, so I can’t wait for what’s ahead.”