VFL Player Focus: Nate Caddy (Carlton)

NORTHERN Knights forward Nate Caddy became the latest Coates Talent League gun to make his VFL debut this year, linking with Carlton’s reserves on Sunday. In an ironic turn of fate, the spring-heeled marking phenom turned out for the side he last played against, while representing the AFL Academy.

Caddy will be familiar with the Carlton setup having spent a short stint there during preseason, and was afforded the opportunity during the Knights’ bye round. His Blues went down by 20 points in windy Williamstown, but there were plenty of promising signs for the youngster as this week’s Player Focus.

Tall Forward

Nate Caddy

Height: 193cm

Weight: 88kg

DOB: 14-07-2005

2023 VFL Round 9 – Williamstown 11.14 (80) def. Carlton VFL 8.12 (60)
#62 Nate Caddy (Carlton VFL)
Stats: 8 disposals (4 kicks, 4 handballs), 2 marks, 2 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 2 goals, 1 behind


Though it was very much a feeling out process, Caddy’s first term yielded his maiden VFL goal and it was a ripper at that. The athletic teen pounced on an errant Williamstown handball which bounced his way at the heart of forward 50, before shrugging off Corey Ellison and finishing with a classy checkside.

Caddy’s late major at the scoring end put Carlton 17 points up just before quarter time, making for a very handy lone disposal. Earlier, he started out on the bench but looked hungry to make an impact, pressuring Williamstown defenders with his closing speed.

As the Blues adjusted to the heavy wind which favoured them, Caddy saw the ball sail high and wide over his head when leading, though he moved into dangerous spots and would otherwise have been rewarded with better delivery on a couple of occasions.


Caddy yielded only one kick in term two, but as was the case in the opening quarter, it was a heck of a possession.

Showcasing his athleticism once again, he scooped up a loose ball in full flight on forward wing before unleashing a kick inside 50 to the advantage of Zac Fisher, who misread it completely and allowed Williamstown to intercept.

The Blues were kicking against the wind and hardly passed halfway as Williamstown kicked away to a half time lead.

It meant Caddy’s only opportunities came when working high up the ground in quick transitions, but those passages were few and far between. He ended the half with two kicks, one inside 50 and a goal.

Caddy takes a breather on Sunday | Image Credit: Carlton Media


With the breeze at Carlton’s back, term three loomed as a chance for the Blues to sneak back in front and Caddy was the man to do it.

Working on the back shoulder of Ellison, he got a quick nudge in under the high ball and leapt straight up off a standing start, before clunking the mark with one grab. The resultant 20-metre set shot yielded his second goal to put Carlton ahead.

Earlier, Caddy presented off the opening clearance and extended well at the ball, though his marking attempt was scuppered by Marty Hore. Still, he stayed with the play and followed up with a couple of paddles before collecting, spinning out of one tackle and dishing off to Jaxon Binns while absorbing a second.

The teen was a touch scrappy at ground level as opponents closed but proved clean enough in a couple of instances to hand teammates snaps on goal. One was a direct assist for Heath Ramshaw, a 2021 Northern Knights graduate.

Caddy was later moved up to the wing, with Carlton shifting its forward structure to make full use of the wind advantage. Nonetheless, Caddy took a contested mark inside 50 in a quarter where no Carlton tall seemingly could.


Reverting back to his usual forward post, Caddy could only scrounge a couple more handballs in term four but showed positive signs in his aerial game. He was stiff not to hold onto a late grab after leaping nicely at the ball, as he continued to look like Carlton’s most likely marking asset in attack.

Caddy also showed great speed on a passage over the back, paddling the ball inside 50 but just failing to take possession under pressure. He even worked up to the wing to wrap up a Williamstown player, winning the holding-the-ball free kick and dishing off to a runner.


At 192cm, the main question mark over Caddy as an AFL prospect is his in-between size and whether he can translate his game as a genuine key position player.

That query was answered somewhat on Sunday, though the debutant looked more likely to take marks inside 50 than a host of taller and more experienced Carlton-listed forwards.

He took a couple of clean clunks and could well do so to a greater extent with more exposure at VFL level, but will likely struggle to crash packs like he does when flying against mature 200cm bodies.

Ideally, he comes into the elite system as a third tall who adds another attacking threat in attack, able to work high up the ground or as a leaper inside 50.

His versatility hasn’t been explored this year as it was in 2022, though the talented top-ager is quite clearly a potential first rounder with bucketloads of potential in his favoured forward post.

Having had the start to his season interrupted by a fractured leg, keep an eye on Caddy in the middle and back-end of his top-age campaign as he looks primed to hit his best form soon.

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