New Bomber’s training approach ruffles feathers

Essendon draftee Nate Caddy has wasted no time showing what he’s made of during the Bombers’ match simulation on Saturday.

The 18-year-old, who was Essendon’s first round pick in the 2023 AFL Draft, cleaned up Jayden Laverde during the session, making a big statement to teammates and coaches alike.

Despite looking embarrassed after the big hit when he handed back Laverde’s cap and apologised, Caddy’s ferocity is quickly being noticed and celebrated around the rejuvenated playing group.

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Essendon captain Zach Merrett spoke highly of the new recruit’s energy on the track.

“There are not many guys where you look at their under-18 highlights and say we don’t have someone like that, just the way he throws himself at the contest and the ball,” Merrett said.

“I think a few of our backs were nervous today when he came running through a few of those contests.”

Caddy’s energy has been so intense and exciting that Merrett revealed the club’s trainers and doctors have managed the youngster’s load to ensure he is ready for 2024.

“He’s getting a little frustrated that he’s getting held back by the high-performance team,” Merrett said.

“It’s probably not my personality to slow down. I love his energy, love his attitude and he wants to make an impression and has his sights set on playing in round one, whether he gets there or not. He wants to be a good player and an Essendon player long term.”

The Bombers skipper revealed his excitement towards the young forward’s future in the red and black, with Caddy already expressing his desire to be a one-club player.

“He is going to be one of those guys who we love playing with and that fans love watching,” Merrett said.

“He isn’t a 200-centimetre forward but he’s very nimble and can have a really good impact on the game – the comparison with Charlie Curnow are a bit early, but we are super enthusiastic about his attitude.”

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