Both standing under 6-feet tall and both from the Dandenong Stingrays pathway, Cody Weightman and Ned Cahill will make their AFL debut’s tonight.
The Dandenong Stingrays had 5 players drafted in last year’s national draft, with their reigning best and fairest and number 7 pick, Hayden Young making a solid debut for Fremantle against Brisbane in round 2 last month.
For round seven he has been joined by his teammates from last year, Cody Weightman originally from Beaconsfield and Mt Eliza’s Ned Cahill and ironically they will play against each other on Friday night with Weightman, the Bulldogs first pick in last year’s draft at 15 becoming the Dogs’ 4th debutant in 2020.
Cahill, who was chosen at Pick 56 joins an in form Bombers side, who have tasted just one loss in their five games so far to Carlton by one point.
Nick Cox, the Stingrays coach says he’s delighted the pair will play this weekend and join Young in the AFL so early in this unprecedented season. “From our organisation’s perspective, we could not be happier and considering how tough it has been this year, with no NAB Cup so far in 2020, this news has put a permanent smile on my face,” Cox said proudly.
He believes Essendon did remarkably well to get Ned Cahill so late at pick 56. “As far as I am concerned, the Bombers got a steal, with Ned. His footy smarts are brilliant. There may have been a knock on his pace, but he should have been picked earlier.”
Cox claims Ned is the complete package. “He brings so much to the table and not just as a footballer, but as a person. I noticed in our one on one conversations as a coach and player last year that he showed some vulnerability, although in a team environment, he certainly didn’t lack confidence. However, he learnt a fair bit last year and grew so much off the field as well.”
Cody Weightman, who played in Beaconsfield under 18 premiership team in 2018 in the last year of the South East Football League may have in some circles been a surprise first round pick, but the Bulldogs were keen and made sure they got their man.
In celebration of Cody Weightman making his AFL debut this week for the Western Bulldogs, we have gone through the archives and found an a GameFace interview from 2018. Dan Lonergan spoke to him straight after Beaconsfield Football Club won the 2018 Under 19's SEFNL Premiership and Cody was awarded best on ground.Well done Cody!
Posted by GameFace on Tuesday, 14 July 2020
Cox is convinced he will excite Dogs’ fans. “He can bring X factor and loves a goal and knows where they are. His highlight reel is outstanding. To be honest his forward pressure was an area he needed to work on, but maybe that has improved since he joined the Bulldogs.”
There are two other Stingray boys from the class of 2019 in Sam De Konning selected at pick 19 by Geelong and Bigoa Nyuon, who Richmond nabbed at 54. Nick Cox says they are coming along nicely, which he is very pleased about.
Cox admits it’s been hard for his squad with no football yet in 2020 due to COVID-19, but he is not ruling out an extremely shortened season starting in early September. ‘’Before I spoke with you, I had two zoom chats with some of my boys and it has been tough mentally. For some of them this year would have been a golden opportunity for them to show natural improvement and hopefully be in the eyes and minds of AFL recruiters, but at the moment, many of them have admitted it”s been hard to stay self- motivated,” he admits with a sense of melancholy in his voice.
At this stage without putting any pressure on them Cox believes Two Stingray players, both from the MPNFL, Hastings” Clayton Gay and Mt Eliza junior, Will Bravo are good chances of being drafted.
As he had a decent seat being an opposition coach, it would be folly not to ask Nick, how good is young Gold Coast star, Matt Rowell, who was an early Rising star and Brownlow favourite before injuring his shoulder in round Five.
‘’He has been superb, but it’s not surprising as he has dominated for Oakleigh for the last two years and was actually best on ground as an under- age player, when we (the Stingrays) won the Grand final in 2018. Matt was born to compete at the highest level plain and simple.” Nick says.
As a Bombers supporter. Nick Cox will no doubt be barracking hard for Ned Cahill to have a massive influence in his first game, but I am sure if Cody Weightman wearing red, white and blue produces something astonishing, which he is more than capable of, this very proud coach will also applaud a job well done!