Renowned for plucking players out of nowhere, Geelong has signed a basketballer as a rookie — and he is the brother of one of the brightest young Aussie stars.
The raw 203cm ruckman played one game for the Northern Knights in the Coates Talent League 2018 before opting to pursue a career in basketball.
It has enabled Furphy, 24, to become a Cat as a Category B rookie, given he hasn’t played Aussie rules in more than three years, an opportunity he describes as “surreal.”
Furphy has played at a number of Victorian basketball teams including Hawthorn Magic and Melbourne University.
His brother, Johnny, is one of Australia’s brightest young basketball prospects, having just started at Kansas University on a scholarship after training with South East Melbourne Phoenix in the off-season.
Furphy has impressed new Geelong football boss Andrew Mackie with his athletic profile, including his vertical leap.
The Cats are renowned for their untraditional methods of recruiting which has served them well, taking punts on former steeplechaser Mark Blicavs and Irish duo Mark O’Connor and Oisin Mullin as Category B rookies.
Geelong found themselves with a ruck shortage late in the year and with Rhys Stanley and Mark Blicavs in the twilight of their career, Furphy shapes a project player who can be waiting in the wings once he is given the time to develop.
“Joe is a raw product who has some very exciting attributes. He has a big leap and other traits that we are keen to develop,” Mackie said.
“Basketball and Australian rules football have a lot of transferable skills and as a Club, we are excited to see what Joe can do as part of our development program.
Furphy will join the club when pre-season resumes in November and he is eager to get started.
“It is a pretty surreal feeling, to be honest,” Furphy said on signing with the Cats.
“Geelong is such a great club with rich history and strong values. I’m thankful for the opportunity to pursue a football career and I’m looking forward to starting pre-season.”