Jared Rivers.

Jared Rivers. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

HAVING shifted the club's recruiting philosophy by securing three players from other clubs at once, Geelong has set the goal of reaching the top four in 2013.

The Cats completed the recruitment of Melbourne defender Jared Rivers and North Melbourne ruckman Hamish McIntosh - both on three-year deals - yesterday and finalised the trade for ex-Suns youngster Josh Caddy.

Geelong did not have a single player on its senior list this year who was traded. But club chief executive Brian Cook said the Cats had decided to shift their long-standing policy of ''growing their own'' players in order to remain competitive while rebuilding and creating a ''bridge'' between the club's large groups of veterans and youngsters.

Josh Caddy (centre) will be at the Cats next year.

Josh Caddy (centre) will be at the Cats next year. Photo: Steve Holland

Cook said 2013 would be the third year of a ''transition'' that began in 2011, when the Cats won the premiership, as older players retired, and the aim for next year was to remain highly competitive and make the top four, which they missed narrowly this year.

''That's the ambition - finish in the top four,'' said Cook, acknowledging that this was ''a huge challenge'' for the club as its veterans retired.

Cook said the Cats' list was ''polarised'' between youngsters and older players, having lost Matthew Scarlett, David Wojcinski and Simon Hogan to retirement, with free agent Shannon Byrnes joining Melbourne.

Hamish McIntosh (centre) will move to Geelong.

Hamish McIntosh (centre) will move to Geelong. Photo: Pat Scala

Cook said the ''new landscape'' of free agency - which meant the club could pick up Rivers without sacrificing a draft pick - plus the age profile of the list had prompted the club to change tack somewhat.

Brad Ottens was the last significant player to join Geelong from another club.

''The list profile we've got - it's polarised a bit.''

Geelong gave up only money for Rivers, but the Demons will be compensated by a draft pick while the Cats gave up their second-round draft pick - selection 36 - to secure McIntosh who moves from playing under Brad to Chris Scott. The trade of McIntosh frees up money for North Melbourne.

The remaining year of McIntosh's contract has been absorbed by Geelong as part of a new three-year deal.

The Roos will now move to front-load a number of contracts with discussions to be opened with a number of players falling out of contract next year such as Jack Ziebell, Daniel Wells, Shaun Atley, Kieran Harper, Drew Petrie and Luke Delaney.

With Cameron Pedersen on his way to Melbourne - likely in exchange for the Rivers compensation draft pick - they should now also secure uncontracted Port Adelaide youngster Ben Jacobs with a second-round pick with Matthew Campbell potentially moving to Port as part of the deal.

Melbourne had already lost one player and secured another through free agency.

The expectation is that the draft pick it would have received for losing Brent Moloney to the Brisbane Lions will be cancelled out by the arrival of free agent Byrnes.

The Cats now have five ruckmen - Trent West, Dawson Simpson, Orren Stephenson, the versatile Nathan Vardy and McIntosh - on their senior list.

The romantic story of Stephenson might be shortlived as the mature-age recruit is understood to be out of contract and could be squeezed for numbers. Tom Gillies is out of contract and likely to be under pressure to keep his spot on the Geelong list.

Scott Gumbleton is weighing whether to accept a two-year offer from the Western Bulldogs or remain at Essendon.

Second-guessing Gumbleton's decision, clubs presumed he would remain at the Bombers where he is close friends with Jobe Watson with whom he shares a house.

The deadline for nominating for free agency is 5pm today.