Geelong have finally agreed to part ways with Esava Ratugolea, sending him to Port Adelaide more than 12 months after his initial trade request.

Having held him to his contract when the request was initially made, the Cats maintained their hard-ball approach this off-season, befuddling Port Adelaide by refusing to accept Pick 25 in a deal that seemed to favour Geelong.

They instead asked for contracted Power tall Ollie Lord as part of the deal, given his connection to the club through grandfather and former Brownlow medallist for the Cats, Alistair Lord.

From here the trade feud became a battle of who blinks first, and after more than a week of negotiations, the Cats have finally budged, accepting Picks 25, 76 and 94 for Ratugolea in a direct swap.

The Power will finally add a big body to their key defensive stocks, but can only hope that he can provide what he hasn't thus far with the Cats.

With Port Adelaide, he will play second fiddle behind Aliir Aliir, which may suit him better than the number one key defensive role he played for parts of last season with Geelong.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 07: Esava Ratugolea of the Cats and Marlion Pickett of the Tigers in action during the 2021 AFL Round 08 match between the Richmond Tigers and the Geelong Cats at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on May 07, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

He could thrive as a backup intercepter in this role, taking a heavy load off Aliir who should benefit significantly from the move.

Through coach Chris Scott and list boss Andrew Mackie during the off-season, the Cats maintained that Ratugolea was a key member of their list and required a hefty return if they looked to move him on, despite being in and out of the starting 22 throughout his entire career, including 2023.

Without a plethora of key defensive talent around the league or coming through the draft, Geelong obviously saw Ratugolea as a rare commodity even if he wasn't a significant match-day contributor.

Given their historical list management competency, we can expect the Cats to more than make up for the loss of their athletic key poster with whatever selection they make with their trio of new picks in the draft.

It looks as if they are preparing for a rebuilding period, given their persistence in holding onto Pick 8 rather than immediately improving with a move to acquire a primed player.

They always seem to boast an ageing list that few expect to take them far, but time and time again they subvert expectations with top four finishes and deep finals runs.

The Cats remain an entertaining watch as the trade period winds up and the National Draft approaches, when Geelong's list entering 2024 is finalised and the experts have their pre-season say.

The addition of Ratugolea sees the departing Cat join Ivan Soldo and Jordon Sweet in also heading to Alberton on Wednesday.