DANIEL O'Keefe hopes Geelong's track record of drafting from its VFL list will be his best chance at a second crack at AFL footy.
The 21-year-old has signed to play with the Cats' VFL side this season in a bid to resurrect an AFL career cut down by injuries after three years at Sydney.
He will be joined by de-listed rookie Bryn Weadon, who has also signed up with the Cats, while the South Barwon flavour to the coaching staff will also be increased this year. Three-time premiership captain Warwick Knuckey will join his former Swans coach Dale Amos, now Cats VFL coach, at Geelong this year, after accepting an assisting coaching job with the team.
O'Keefe was overlooked in December's rookie draft after training with Geelong before Christmas, but believed playing VFL footy at Skilled Stadium this year would give him the best opportunity to get back to the highest level.
"After the rookie draft I had a few decisions to make, but it's good to have it sorted now and be able to get back into it," O'Keefe said.
"I had five or six VFL club (offers) to choose from, but I wanted to live in Geelong so that cut it down to a couple, and I thought Geelong would give me the best opportunities (to get back into the AFL).
"I was definitely disappointed (not to be rookie-listed) after training there for a couple of months, but if you look at Ben Johnson and Podsy (James Podsiadly), they both got picked up from the VFL list, so it's the best opportunity and hopefully it all works."
O'Keefe, who is back at home in Warrnambool, said he hoped to join full training when the VFL squad resumed next week, despite his knee injury flaring up again.
"Towards the end of my training at Geelong before Christmas the knee started to swell up and had a bit of fluid there, but apart from that it's not too bad," he said.
"I'm not in full training yet, but I'm not far off it.
"My first aim is to play every game for Geelong in the VFL, knock that over, have an injury-free year and just play some consistent footy."