A PHONE call from Collingwood president Eddie McGuire ended two weeks of secret anticipation for Wodonga’s Jonathon Ceglar.
Ceglar signed with the 2010 premiers in a deal that saw the 203cm Wodonga Raiders ruckman and reformed bad-boy Andrew Krakouer join the Pies from the Gold Coast’s pre-draft list in exchange for pick No. 25.
Ceglar, 19, is the fourth Murray Bushranger to join an AFL club this year, following Greater Western Sydney signings Anthony Miles, Sam Scultz and Mark Whiley.
He was overlooked as an 18-year-old in last year’s national draft but got a second chance this season when the Bushrangers offered him their mature-aged position.
Ceglar, whose father David Ceglar played seven matches for North Melbourne between 1986-87, improved rapidly as a 19-year-old, holding down the No. 1 ruck role for Victoria Country at the under-18 national championships.
He finished fourth in the Murray Bushrangers’ best and fairest count and had the 11th-most hitouts (204) in the TAC Cup despite playing only 12 games.
Collingwood recruiting manager Derek Hine was the first to tell Ceglar he was a Pie on Wednesday night and McGuire welcomed him to the club minutes later.
But Ceglar had suspected what his future held for weeks.
“I’ve been talking to Collingwood for a couple of weeks and I sort of knew it was coming but I also knew the Krakouer deal had to go through first so I didn’t talk to anyone about it until it was a done deal.
“It’s all starting to sink in now.
“Walking into a premiership club and a club with such a big following, it’s pretty exciting.”
Ceglar’s arrival came on the day Collingwood traded 200-game ruckman Josh Fraser to the Gold Coast.
“I watched Darren Jolly closely in the two grand finals and he was pretty sensational,” Ceglar said.
“Apparently he’s a pretty good teacher as well so I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into work with him.”
Hine said Ceglar was “very important” to the three-way deal which also brought former Richmond forward and 2009 Sandover medallist Krakouer to Collingwood.
“We see (Ceglar) as a developing ruckman who fits our development objectives well,” Hine said.
“Cameron Wood fits into the 22-25 age bracket, Seamus McNamara fits into the 26-29 bracket and Darren (Jolly) will play as a 30-year-old next year.
“We wanted to bring in another developing ruckman who sits in the 18-22 bracket (and) with the addition of John we have a nice succession plan in place.”
Ceglar will continue rehabilitation work on a minor knee injury on the Border before moving to Melbourne in two weeks.
The Wodonga electrician will fly to Arizona for the Magpies’ annual high altitude training camp in November.