From Bat to Bomber

Nate Caddy (Ljubica Vrankovic) 356244_15_ 2

Harper Sercombe

The Yarrambat Junior Football Club has its fourth ever player in the big-time with gun forward Nate Caddy being picked up in the first round of the AFL draft on Monday night.

The Northern Knight was selected with the 10th pick of the night, with Essendon moving up the draft order to secure Caddy’s services.

The Bombers traded pick 11 and 31 to Geelong to move up one spot to snatch the 18-year-old.

Although Caddy already had been linked to the Bombers heading into draft night, he said he had no idea if they would pick him up.

“I had no clue at all, I thought I was going to Geelong, if I’m honest,” he said.

“With two minutes left (on the clock), [Essendon] put the trade through. [I thought] ‘oh, here we go’ and then the cameras started rolling around, Xavier Dursma was standing there right next to me and I thought ‘it’s happening’.”

While it was a surprise for the nephew of two-time Richmond premiership player Josh, Caddy said he could not be happier to don the sash in 2024.

“I’m so excited and can’t wait to get started, it’s been a lifelong dream for me,” he said.

“I feel like the list is really good, they were just out of the finals this year, but I feel like their list can get a lot better, and hopefully I can contribute to that.

“The Bombers are a huge club and I’m grateful to be a part of it now and to know that there was a chance to go there, I was thinking ‘oh that would be alright’, but now that I’m there, I just can’t wait to get going.”

Caddy has spent much of his junior career as a key forward, demonstrating his athleticism and his ability in the air and on ground level.

“I’m 193 [centimetres], so I’m a bit of an undersized key forward, I like to be a hard match up,” he said.

“Play on smalls but can also play on talls and beat whoever it is. If they’re bigger than me, beat them with speed, and if they’re smaller than me I want to be stronger than them.

“I’m a bit of a hit-up forward, but I’m athletic and can take a grab and kick goals, so I call myself a power-forward.”

Yet after being trialled in the midfield throughout this season, the potential for him to spend more time in the middle is a change that both he and the Bombers will be keen to explore, with his explosiveness reminding many of Jake Stinger.

“I’ve never played midfield in my life, to be honest, before this year, so it was kinda something that kinda just came about,” he said.

“To learn off Stringer… and to see how he approaches the game will be amazing to see.

“That’s something I look forward to getting better at, in the coming years, but whatever the Bombers want me to be, I’m happy to be.”

Caddy wasn’t the only Northern Knight selected in the first round with Will Green landing at the Sydney Swans with pick 16 of the draft.

Calder Cannons’ forward-ruck Jordan Croft was also taken on Monday night, with the Western Bulldogs matching the Swan’s bid on the talent, to secure him as a father-son selection with pick 15.