Cody Weightman is officially a Western Bulldog.
At pick #15, the Western Bulldogs selected Weightman, fulfilling his childhood dream to play at the elite level.
In the lead up to the draft, Weightman was publicised heavily touring the facilities of Whitten Oval, but before the tour he spent some time on the Western side of Victoria to clear his mind.
“In the last few days if you are doing an interview with a club, it is a pretty strong indicator they are showing interest, they just want to make that connection stronger and show the kid the future and what he might be stepping into,” he said.
“I got back from Bali and I went over to Torquay with a few other boys that got drafted, Sam De Koning’s place in Torquay, with Ned Cahill and Hayden Young.
“Basically we all wanted the same thing, to keep our minds active and get away from it; it is a pretty consuming time leading up to the draft.
“It is important to try and get away for us so we have done a few of those Torquay trips to get away, do a bit of surfing together, bit of golf and talk about life – rather than just footy.”
Going into draft night, many draftees are confident where their new home will be, but never certain. For Weightman it was no different, before a subtle hint from those at Fox Footy.
“For me, I didn’t care where it was or when it was but I wanted to go on the first night and make sure I got it over and done with on the first night, and move forward from then on,” he said.
“I knew the Dogs were certainly keen, I knew come pick 15 there was a really good chance I was going to be at the Dogs.
“The cameras started to walk towards me before the pick was even read out so I had a good idea that it was about to happen.”
As soon as his name was called, it was no rest for Weightman, whose phone was constantly buzzing. The were mainly messages from his friends and family, his Haileybury mentor, and his new teammates, but it was a now-opposition player who Weightman has idolised in recent times who provided a really special moment for the small-forward.
“Pretty much the whole team got on to me, which was pretty cool – all the players got around me,” he said.
“Billy Gowers and I were FaceTiming – I got to have a chat with him between media breaks.
“I had a chat to Lloydy and stuff and hopefully have a coffee with him soon now I live a bit closer to him.
“He has been huge for me and certainly will have another chat with him.
“Charlie Cameron actually got onto me, which I thought was pretty cool from him.
“He is a player I like to base my game around and threw out some help and encouragement, which was pretty cool from him.”
Weightman grew up as an invested Collingwood supporter, and if all goes well over pre-season he could be lining up in Round 1 against his childhood heroes in front of a packed house at Marvel Stadium. While that’s a goal for him, Weightman is aware and looking forward to the hard work that needs to be done before then.
“It would be unreal; it is certainly a bit of a goal,” he said.
“There is a lot that needs to happen before then but if all went to plan that would be absolutely crazy – a Round 1 debut against Collingwood at Marvel, would be a full house.
“That is certainly something to work hard on, but (there’s) no promise in footy and I have a lot to do before that opportunity potentially comes.
“You get in and work hard.
“You earn your respect to the players – that is the main thing for me, earning that strong respect from the playing group and earning trust from them because that is going to hold you in good stead for the future.
“For me, that is that the top of my list, getting in and showing I am willing to work hard and get towards the one direction they have been working towards.
“Do the part I need to do that suits the team culture the best, and if I can do that then hopefully opportunities will come on an individual basis, but team first to begin with.”
Weightman was among five Dandenong Stingrays who were selected in the National Draft over Wednesday and Thursday night. Hayden Young (Fremantle, pick #7), Sam De Koning (Geelong, pick #19), Bigoa Nyuon (Richmond, pick #54) and Ned Cahill (Essendon, pick #56) were also the Stingrays who achieved their dreams of the opportunity of pulling on an AFL club’s jumper in 2020.