GEELONG has earmarked young forward Shane Kersten to play a Jack Gunston-type role in the club's new-look attacking set-up next season.

The Cats' decision to delist James Podsiadly has opened the door for Kersten to finally make his AFL debut.

And the 20-year-old from Western Australia, who was drafted in 2011, is being groomed to play in a three-pronged forward line alongside Tom Hawkins and Nathan Vardy.

"It will be a different looking forward line without ‘Pods’ next year, so it will be interesting to see how it all comes together," Geelong assistant coach Dale Amos told

"Shane is a different type of forward to Hawkins. He can play as a deep forward, but he's more an in between type of player.

"He can get up the ground, but he can get back as well."

Gunston has made a name for himself at Hawthorn over the past couple of seasons by forming a potent combination with Jarryd Roughead and Lance Franklin.

His pace, aerobic capacity and strong marking have allowed him to cover plenty of ground but also provide a strong contest when the ball is kicked in long.

He demonstrated those traits on Grand Final day, proving far too good for Fremantle defender Zac Dawson and booting four goals, which placed him second in the Norm Smith Medal voting.

At 190cm, Kersten is three centimetres shorter than Gunston, but the Cats have high hopes that he can develop into a similar player.

"Shane is super-quick, so his speed enables him to be very effective on the lead, but also be dangerous running towards the goals when the ball is kicked over the back," Amos said.

"He's very polished at what he does. He's got clean hands and he kicks the ball well. He's one of those players who can kick goals from long-range."

Kersten booted 41 goals in 13 VFL games this season, but his progress was hindered by hip, pelvis and hamstring injuries.

He was named as an emergency for Geelong's preliminary final against Hawthorn.

"He came close to making his AFL debut on a number of occasions, but his injuries meant he never played enough games in a row to force his way into the team," Amos said.

"It felt like every time he was on the cusp of getting an AFL game he seemed to get injured, which held him back.

"But he's a great talent and played at a really high level in the VFL. We're excited by what he's capable of doing in the future.

"Some of his VFL games were outstanding. He can do things that other VFL players and AFL players can't do.

"He's got that raw talent. Hopefully we can see it consistently next year.

"He just needs to get some consistency into his training."

Twitter: @AFL_AdamMcNicol