Cadman takes out inaugural Rookie Me Central medal
GREATER Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels forward Aaron Cadman is the inaugural NAB League Boys player to take out the Rookie Me Central Medal. After GWS draftee Zarlie Goldsworthy won the girl’s equivalent earlier this year, the top 10 AFL Draft prospect has been rewarded for his outstanding campaign.
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Cadman also finished as the leading goalkicker this NAB League season, booting 34 majors in 12 games – including two bags of five and three hauls of four. He was kept goalless just once, making for a remarkable transition to the tall forward role. Such form saw him added to the AFL Academy, before spearheading Vic Country’s undefeated National Championship run.
His superb run towards the back-end of the season was observed in a consistent stream of votes. Cadman polled either four of five votes in his last handful of matches, which yielded averages of 20.4 disposals, 6.4 marks, and 3.6 goals per game. Overall, he was adjudged best afield five times out of the nine games in which he polled votes.
Speaking to Rookie Me Central while watching on during the NAB League finals, Cadman said he was “honoured” to take out the award, a year after former-Rebel Josh Rentsch won the league’s Morrish Medal.
“It’s pretty cool to be recognised like this so I’m really happy with it,” he said. “I’ve worked hard for this and it’s good to get the rewards. “It’s pretty cool because it’s unexpected… to have my name up there and get the award.”
Cadman’s steep rise in draft stocks hasn’t come easily. The 194cm prospect took on a relatively new role in attack this season and was made to learn on the job, making significant strides after a strong preseason. Though the transition was “weird”, Cadman has developed out of sight.
“I hadn’t really played as a key forward,” Cadman said. “Coming into this year playing as the one man deep and then up the ground has been a bit weird, but it’s been good.
“I’ve been happy with how my year’s been going, pretty consistent I’ve thought but I’ve got a couple more games to go so hopefully I can keep on that and play well.
“I think my marking and my forward craft have just gone through the roof. I’ve really tried to work on all that stuff and I’ve put in the hours so it’s good.
“I’m always trying to get fitter, no matter how fit you are you can always get fitter. I think that will separate me from the rest up in the big leagues.”
Unfortunately, Cadman and his Rebels saw their season cut short in Wildcard Round with a four-point loss to the Northern Knights. Now, the 18-year-old can look forward to representing Vic Country one last time. Dandenong is his tip for the NAB League flag.
“It is disappointing, but we had a really good year with a really good group of boys,” Cadman said. “It wasn’t the best way to end it but hats off to the Northern boys, they played really well and were the better team on the day.
“I’m really hyped to play on Marvel Stadium (against Vic Metro), it’s going to be awesome. I can’t wait.”
1ST – AARON CADMAN (GWV Rebels) – 39 votes
2nd – Noah Bradshaw (Murray Bushrangers) – 38
3rd – Lachlan Cowan (Tasmania Devils) – 35
4th – Will Ashcroft (Sandringham Dragons) – 33
=5th – Jhye Clark (Geelong Falcons) – 29
=5th – Bailey Humphrey (Gippsland Power) – 29
7th – Harry Sheezel (Sandringham Dragons) – 25
8th – Elijah Tsatas (Oakleigh Chargers) – 24
9th – Colby McKercher (Tasmania Devils) – 23
=10th – Coby Burgiel (Gippsland Power) – 22
=10th – Harvey Gallagher (Bendigo Pioneers) – 22
=10th – Harley Reid (Bendigo Pioneers) – 22
Bendigo Pioneers – Harvey Gallagher, Harley Reid (22)
Calder Cannons – Harry Rowston (10)
Dandenong Stingrays – Mitch Szybkowski (18)
Eastern Ranges – Lewis Hayes, Connor Smith (13)
Geelong Falcons – Jhye Clark (29)
Gippsland Power – Bailey Humphrey (29)
GWV Rebels – Aaron Cadman (39)
Murray Bushrangers – Noah Bradshaw (38)
Northern Knights – Nate Caddy (18)
Oakleigh Chargers – Elijah Tsatas (24)
Sandringham Dragons – Will Ashcroft (33)
Tasmania Devils – Lachlan Cowan (35)
Western Jets – Massimo D’Ambrosio (15)