Tall Forward


Nate Caddy

height: 193cm

weight: 88kg

D.O.B: 14-07-2005

Leagues: AFL U18 Championships, Coates Talent League Boys

  • Snapshot
  • Analysis
  • Summary

SNAPSHOT: “Nate Caddy is a marking machine with good speed off the mark, unique aerial range, and game-breaking ability.”

There are few players with as much upside as Nate Caddy in this year’s AFL Draft, and even fewer who can claim to match his aerial ability. The 193cm Northern Knights forward comes from good pedigree too, as the son of local legend Saul and nephew of two-time premiership Tiger, Josh.

Caddy came to prominence as a prospect during last year’s Coates Talent League season, booting 18 goals in 13 games as one of the Knights’ rising stars. He also turned out twice for Vic Metro in the Under 18 National Championships and was named to play in the annual Futures showcase.

Heading into his top-age campaign in 2023, Caddy had notoriety as a potential top 10 talent and was duly included in the AFL Academy. A fractured leg interrupted the start of his season, and Caddy missed Vic Metro’s opening champs game through illness, but still produced an array of starring performances.

Among the highlights of his year, Caddy earned selection in the Coates Talent League Team of the Year, was best afield as Parade College took out the Herald Sun Shield, and made his VFL debut with Carlton. His best game on paper was a six-goal haul against Bendigo Pioneers, which also yielded 25 disposals, nine marks, and Player of the Week honours.



+ Aerial ability
+ Overhead marking
+ Reach
+ Speed
+ Scoreboard impact
+ Upside


- Ground balls
- In-between size

There has been much conjecture over how and where Caddy fits in at AFL level, mostly due to his standing at 193cm. In the junior grades, he presents as a genuine centre half-forward and certainly has qualities akin to Carlton's Charlie Curnow, who measures up at a near-identical height - both arguably just below genuine key position size. It clearly hasn't hindered Curnow, though.

Caddy possesses similar athleticism and aerial range, with his marking ability just about second to none in this year's draft. The 18-year-old has an enormous wingspan and bucket-like hands which pair nicely with a spring-heeled leap and sharp speed off the mark. Altogether, his traits make him a nightmare to defend on quick entries or when hitting up at the kicker full-chested.

Northern, and even Vic Metro to an extent, also looked to showcase Caddy's versatility with midfield stints. In Knights colours, he would often start quarters at the centre bounce before shifting forward, while at Metro it was more a case of hoping his X-factor would inject life into the engine room. It's unlikely Caddy spends much time in midfield down the line, but he'll be an effective third tall forward and mobile marking option.

A key area where Caddy has improved is his endurance. A 6:35 2km time at the National Draft Combine attests to that, and while not in the elite bracket, that kind of running capacity allowed Caddy to get off the leash just enough across four quarters. There are times where he looks gassed, haunched over after a big effort on the lead or on the chase, but he lasts long enough in games to take advantage of the inevitable moments.

The other key growth area for Caddy in 2023 has been his goal kicking conversion. As a bottom-ager, his set shot routine was all over the place and his kicking mechanics needed work. With guidance from Northern coach Anthony Rocca, he has certainly straightened up in front of goal and booted 25.19 for the season, only being held goalless twice in nine games.

In all seven of Caddy's remaining Coates Talent League appearances, he produced major scoreboard impact with multiple goals in each dig. Having started steadily after an interrupted preseason, he broke through for four goals against Oakleigh in Round 8 and topped that effort with six against Bendigo the next time out. Another haul of four in the Knights' late-season upset of Sandringham was another crowning game in front of goal.

The effort against Bendigo proved his game-winning ability, with Caddy tearing the contest apart after his side trailed at half time, going on to spearhead a 64-point win. Again, it demonstrated that while Caddy can sometimes struggle to get off an opponent, he only needs a few moments to have his say and can take the game away from you within a quarter of footy.

When it comes to further improvement going forward, Caddy can look to sharpen up his work at ground level. While certainly nimble enough to get low to the ball at take it at speed, he's not always one-touch under pressure. Part of staying in the game outside of marking and scoring also includes defensive application, which Caddy has already taken great strides in enhancing, averaging 4.7 tackles at representative level this year.



Caddy is a rare athlete with exciting aerial ability and a much improved endurance base. Recruiters will likely be enamoured by the way he addressed a couple of his growth areas this year, mainly being his set shot conversion and running capacity. Both are great traits to have in his role, which will likely be as a third marking tall or half-forward who presents up the ground. He’s a top 10 talent and should be snapped up within that range.

Aerial ability
Overhead marking
Scoreboard impact
Ground balls
In-between size

AFL U18 Championships

2022Vic Metro1331638820010326.
2023Vic Metro171734111717142270635.75.711.

Coates Talent League Boys

2022Northern Knights111771885800306035718138.55.914.
2023Northern Knights94531475600220026225910.45.916.
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