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GEELONG knew from a long way out that it would not feature until late on draft night, having brought in star midfielder Patrick Dangerfield in this year's trade period.
The Cats had to wait until pick No.59 for assistant coach James Rahilly (with senior coach Chris Scott completing a study course at Harvard University) to call out Tasmanian key defender Ryan Gardner's name.
Gardner attracted major interest from clubs late in the season after impressing across half-back for the Allies team in the Grand Final day curtain-raiser against the NAB AFL Academy.
That he clocked a 2.96-second 20m sprint at last month's combine added to his appeal for prospective AFL clubs, despite an interrupted 2015 season due to a stress fracture in his foot.
The Cats selected Sam Menegola (No.66), previously listed by Fremantle, Wylie Buzza (No.69) and Matthew Hayball (No.70) with their final three selections in the draft.
Recruiting chief Stephen Wells said the Cats purposefully eyed the players they thought might be available later in the draft, starting with Gardner.
"It was not just the Grand Final day curtain-raiser game that was the clinching factor in selecting Gardner, but rather that the Cats had eyed him from a long way out," Wells told AFL.com.au.
"It was good that he was able to play well on the MCG but his performances for Tasmania in the Under-18 Championships were good.
"He's a player who's got a long way to go but we think there's some skills and attributes that can be developed."
The Cats selected Sam Menegola (No.66), previously listed by Fremantle and Hawthorn, Wylie Buzza (No.69) and Matthew Hayball (No.70) with their final three selections in the draft.
Selection No.65 – Ryan Gardner
"We wouldn't have drafted a tall defender just for the sake of it but we drafted Ryan because we feel like he can develop into an AFL player." - Stephen Wells
Selection No.66 – Sam Menegola
"He had a fantastic second half of the year with Subiaco, including a premiership. His performances in the WAFL this year warranted another opportunity at an AFL club and we know he'll give it everything he possibly can to be a success." - Stephen Wells
Selection No.69 – Wylie Buzza
"Wylie did a really good job for Queenland in the Under-18 Championships, as well as playing some senior footy. He's a developing forward – he's got a long way to go having not played a lot of footy in his sporting life. He's big, he's willing and has a real crack." - Stephen Wells
Selection No.70 – Matthew Hayball
"Matt is a wiry, marking player. Physically, he's got a long way to go. When it came to that pick there were a number of players we could have chosen, but we just went for something a bit different." - Stephen Wells
Geelong selected key forward Wylie Buzza with pick No.69. Picture: AFL Media