Ratu­golea happy to play for­ward or ruck

Mercury (Hobart) - - SPORT - JOHN SALVADO (AAP)

VER­SA­TILE tall Esava Ratu­golea is open to a change of role in the 2020 AFL sea­son as Gee­long fig­ure out how to make best use of new ar­rival Josh Jenk­ins.

The 197cm Ratu­golea played mostly as a mark­ing for­ward foil for 198cm spear­head Tom Hawkins in 2019, while also pro­vid­ing ruck cover for Rhys Stan­ley. At 199cm, Jenk­ins shapes as a third tall at­tack­ing op­tion, hav­ing booted 296 goals in 147 games with Ade­laide.

“I’m not sure what the coaches want (but) I’m happy to play any­where,” the 21year-old Ratu­golea told re­porters yes­ter­day.

“If Josh needs more space I’ll give him more space.

“That will prob­a­bly give me more chance to play a bit more in the ruck as well and help Rhys out a lit­tle bit.

“I like to play as a for­ward but I like to play in the ruck as well be­cause it gets me into the game a lot more.” The only knock on the hugely-promis­ing Ratu­golea in his first three sea­sons in the AFL sys­tem was that his lack of en­durance lim­ited the amount of time he was able to spend in the ruck.

Ratu­golea was happy to ad­dress the need to cover the ground better with the coach­ing staff dur­ing his 2019 post-sea­son re­view, along with im­prov­ing his strength and body-work. “It would just be more do­ing it on a con­sis­tent level, crash­ing more packs and get­ting to more con­tests,” he said.

“But then be­ing able to get back to the goal square and be­ing an­other target up- for­ward; build­ing on what I did in the sec­ond half of this sea­son.”

The Cats’ first-to-fourthyear play­ers re­sumed train­ing this week along with off­sea­son re­cruits Jenk­ins and four-time St Kilda best and fairest win­ner Jack Steven.

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