Height: 196 cm
Weight: 91 kg
Position: Key forward
Strengths: Overhead marking, one on one contests, high ceiling, strength
Weaknesses: High risk, struggles to make a consistent impact, poor set shot kick, average athlete
Player comparison: Joe Daniher
First year projection: Long-term prospect
Endurance: Below average
Sam Weideman was rated as a top 10 prospect before going down with an injury earlier this year, which was based on his performances in his bottom-age year. While Weideman’s a raw prospect, he has the body, clean hands and potential to be a very good prospect.
Weideman is a really big unit already. He looks taller than 196 centimetres and his 91 kilogram frame allows him to out-body just about any player. He put that to the test against the Northern Blues earlier in the year. His first quarter yielded five marks (several of those were contested) and two goals against Carlton listed fullback Matthew Watson.
Many fans were salivating over that performance, as he rag-dolled Watson. However, after quarter-time he struggled to make an impact. That has been Weideman’s biggest issue – consistency.
He does not have the tank to run up to the wing and provide a link up target when he’s not finding the ball deep in the forward line. He occasionally chops out in the ruck, but he doesn’t have the motor to be a mobile around the ground threat.
Weideman has an outstanding marking ability, which gives him the chance to mark absolutely anything. His leap is fairly good for a big man and his wingspan is very long, so anything in the air is either getting marked by him, or coming down front and centre for the crumbers.
Statistically Weideman is one of the best contested marks in the draft. Last year he averaged 1.3 contested marks per game in the TAC Cup. That might not seem like much, but it actually accounted for close to 40 per cent of his marks. And remember, he was just 17 then and skinnier.
Despite not being a good runner per say, Weideman has got a little bit of speed over 20 metres, and he communicates well with his other forwards to get blocks so he can lead out into space. On the lead, he is an excellent mark and will always go for the overhead instead of opting for a chest mark.
Weideman may be able to mark the footy well but one of his weaknesses is his set shot goal kicking. In the TAC Cup in 2014, he kicked 19 goals and 15 behinds. Disappointingly, he also had six games where he failed to kick a goal and four games with just one goal. This year in round seven of the TAC Cup, Weideman played his best game kicking five goals and taking four contested marks against Dandenong. However crucially as Weideman was looking to put some good form on the board before the under 18 championships he re-aggravated an ankle stress fracture ruling him out for most of the season.
Key forwards of Weideman’s type have often struggled coming into the AFL. Joe Daniher was an excellent mark and dominated small opponents at TAC Cup level however his set shot goal kicking has been found out at AFL level. Whilst it is an issue, ultimately it is a work in progress and something Weideman will continue to work on when he reaches an AFL club at the end of the year.
Despite these issues, it’s the manner in which Weideman plays and the enormous upside he has that will intrigue recruiters. In spurts, he looks like a star. A great development team will help Weideman immensely, but it is absolutely pivotal to his growth he heads to the right club. He will have plenty of the spotlight on him due to his famous name and obvious talent, but he’s going to be a guy that won’t impact immediately and will take plenty of time to come on.
With a plethora of talented key position players in first round contention this year with Josh Schache, Jacob Weitering, Kieran Collins, Harry McKay and Ryan Burton it will likely take the pressure off Weideman allowing him to develop freely over time.
No doubt Weideman has the potential at best to be a top 10 key forward in the league. However his injury and lack of consistency may result in clubs overlooking him as an early first round pick, there is no doubt he is good enough to get drafted, it is just dependent on each individual clubs’ views on his potential as to where he will finish up at on draft night.