Adelaide youngster Tom Doedee is the Round 2 Rising Star nominee. Before joining the Crows, the rangy defender spent a year with the Geelong Falcons under the tutelage of Andy Allthorpe, who shares his experiences with a young Doedee in an exclusive AFLPlayers.com.au column.
Tom Doedee is the definition of a draft bolter.
We hadn’t seen him much at the Geelong Falcons before 2015 — he was chasing his basketball dream before then — and a pre-season injury restricted his output until the practice matches.
But from the moment he took to the field, you could tell he was a draftable talent.
In our first game for the season, we played the Rebels at home. Tom, who was far from the biggest guy out there, was almost unbeatable one-on-one.
It was a tight match all day and during a crucial moment in the third quarter, Tom beat two guys at half-back and sent the ball our way. It was almost like the game stood still because he’s so calm and clean, that’s where his basketball background comes in handy.
He was as one of our best that day in a great win by a small margin and recruiters took notice immediately.
There was a lot of upside to Tom because his sole year in our program was during his draft year. He could play on tall and small opponents and one of the only blokes who could genuinely match it with Blake Hardwick — the Eastern Ranges goal-kicking machine who was later drafted by Hawthorn.
We first played the Ranges in Round 8. Tom was set to play on Hardwick but was forced to sit out with a hand injury.
So instead of hanging out among the crowd on the day, he sat behind the goals and watched Hardwick the whole match — it just so happened that was the day he kicked 10 goals as the Ranges touched us up.
We later played them in a final and, despite going down by 54 points, Hardwick only kicked three and Tom was easily our best player on the ground.
Tom’s rise was as rapid as they come. By the end of the year, everyone knew he would be drafted. It was only a matter of where.
From all reports, Adelaide were keen and I’m not sure if they got wind of someone taking him but they jumped at pick 17 — which, I must admit, was slightly surprising.
His kicking needed some work but he was so strong one-on-one. He was clever in the way he used his body and his hands.
Tom was always going to prosper in an elite, full time environment given what he’d achieved in the really short time with us.
His key was his composure in defence and he’s equally composed off the field as well. He’s a quality person who could communicate at all levels — he could chat to the boys around the club and his peers but also with older staff. He had the ability to talk to anyone.
We had a good connection through our mutual interest in NFL and even then, he knew more about it than what I did so I was learning a lot off him.
That composure seems to have transitioned seamlessly into his AFL career and I’ve noticed his ability to come off his man and support others as well, whereas, with us, he focused more on beating his man.
Tom has now developed an attacking side to his game as well as being that versatile one-on-one defender who’s great in the contest and recovers quickly.
He was such a mature person who had a terrific attitude so it’s no surprise to see him doing well.