Sam Weideman has been traded to Essendon along with picks 54 and 72 in exchange for pick 37. The out-of-favour forward has averaged eight games a season since he was drafted at pick nine in the 2015 draft.
The first of eight trades to come through on a hectic final day of trading at Marvel Stadium, the former Demon found his way to the Hangar in the hopes kickstart his career just as Peter Wright did.
He featured sporadically for Melbourne at AFL level this season but was a huge factor in Casey’s VFL premiership. He averaged 18 disposals, 30 hit outs and three tackles playing as the main ruck in their last three games of the season.
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Where does he fit at the Bombers?
Essendon’s Football Manager Josh Mahoney explained the club’s reasons for bringing in the out-of-favour forward. Also mentioning how excited he is to work with Weideman again after being a part of the team who drafted him to Melbourne in 2015.
“We need some more support for Peter (Wright) up forward,” he said.
“We’ve got some young talent coming through, but we felt like we needed another mature player.
“Sam comes in at 25 with 50 AFL games, he understands what’s required at the level.
“With the role we’re going to have up forward, we think he’s going to grab it with both hands.”
He also mentioned Weideman’s flexibility to play in the ruck and potentially behind the ball, but ensured he would play plenty of football for the Bombers.
What does he bring to an Essendon Forward line?
When given the opportunity, Weideman showed he could lead a forward line. He kicked six goals through their fairy-tale finals series in 2018 and again in 2020, kicking 13 goals over a six-game span.
He brings an additional tall to an attack that had to call upon the likes of Aaron Francis and Jake Stringer to play as key targets. He’ll look to soften the workload and take defenders away from Wright.
His presence also takes the second-best defender off Harrison Jones, who will be able to fly under the radar and develop in a pressure-free environment as the third forward of a building side.
Weideman rarely gets out marked, often bringing the ball to ground which will be a huge benefit to the fleet of small forwards emerging at the Bombers.
Essendon’s home of failed forwards
The revival of Peter Wright’s career with the Bombers sets the scene for what could be a rag-tag forward line for Essendon that pulls them up the ladder.
Wright had kicked 85 goals in 66 games at the suns before making the move to Tullamarine, while Weideman has kicked 62 in 59 games at the Demons. Both players were criticized for a lack of physicality in marking contests, where Wright was the sixth-ranked key forward in contested marks this season.
Prior to 2022, Wright had never kicked more than 31 goals in a season and averaged 1.3 goals a game for his career. His best season to date saw him kick a staggering 53 goals in 22 games to be named the Bombers’ best and fairest.
Alongside Wright and a healthy Jake Stringer, Weideman has the potential to form one of the most underrated and potent front threes of the competition. Still with plenty of development to come from youngsters Nic Martin and Harrison Jones.
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