First-year Western Bulldogs player Cody Weightman spent his season shutdown period at his family’s home in Officer. We spoke to the No.15 overall draft pick about his time away from the game in lockdown and the business venture he created to keep himself busy.
Kavisha Di Pietro: You’ve been back at training for a week after the season shutdown period. Was it good to be back on the track with your teammates?
Cody Weightman: Absolutely! You really start to miss the little things you get used to with the day in, day out of training. It was great to see familiar faces and be back at the club again. It’s a quite different to how we were training previously with the new rules in place. So much has changed in terms of social distancing and the way we train. We’re split into smaller groups of eight players and I’ve been training with the likes of Marcus Bontempelli and Bailey Smith. ‘Bont’ has been a great guy to learn off. The interactions you have during the day are so different as well. You really are sectioned off into your training group and you might cross paths from a distance with another group, but we’re not spending time together like we normally would. Training itself has a pre-season vibe to it in terms of intensity and the type of work we’re doing. Despite the changes there’s no doubt that we were all keen as a club to be back together.
During the shutdown period you went back to your family’s property in Officer (in South-East Victoria). What was it like to get back there and be able to spend some quality time with them?
It was great to get back to Mum and Dad’s, which is where I grew up. They’ve got a bit of land out there and so I had a bit of space to roam around and get my training done. It’s certainly different to what I was getting used to living in the city – it’s so much more interconnected here (in Melbourne). Being back home almost felt like being on school holidays again, but without the homework! I loved being able to see family and spend some quality time with them. Taking the advice of my teammates and really using that time, because they’ve all said you definitely don’t get much of it (being able to go back home) once the season starts. It was certainly time I’ll treasure.
You and your brother built a makeshift golf course on your property. How did that come about?
That was my first little project when I got back home. I curated a little bit of a golf course but really it was only two holes. The first hole was about 90 metres so my brother and I just spent our time practising our skills. I made sure to give myself things to do whether it was playing golf or cutting the grass to make sure I never got bored. It certainly kept me busy.
Another one of your projects was redesigning used surfboards. Is art something you’ve always been passionate about?
That project took up most of time over the break – I found it really enjoyable. When I was younger I enjoyed arts and crafts, but when it came to high school and VCE it wasn’t something I pursued. It started with an old board I had a while ago that I decided to re-paint for a bit of fun and I ended up selling that and making a little profit so it became a bit of a side hustle for me. I thought while I’ve got time it would be worthwhile to continue pursuing that passion. My brother and I ended up with quite a few old boards. I used it to practice different painting techniques and try my hand at a few different styles of design. In the end I was able to sell a few boards while enjoying my time as well.
As you mentioned, you’ve got a bit of space back on your parents’ property. How did you maintain your fitness while you were there?
I felt by the time isolation hit I had fully adjusted to the demands of being in an AFL environment and a footballer. We were all sent programs to complete from our fitness staff. I was lucky that back home we already had a decent home gym set up, which I upgraded a little bit but that setup was able to accommodate me and everything that I needed. Gym wise I was doing everything from home but I was also really lucky that Cal Porter (third-year Bulldogs player) is from the same town and was spending his isolation here too. That meant we could do skill sessions and train together – following social distancing – and bounce off each other. I was fortunate with the resources around me to not feel like I was impacted too much.
How much were you able to take from Cal during that time?
I was super lucky – we actually spoke about that at the end of isolation. Having each other and being able to bounce ideas off one another was so helpful. He’s been through it as a third-year player so to be able to watch him and set myself to his training standards, while we were away from the club, was great. We challenged each other and that was no doubt rewarding for the both of us. I knew Cal prior to the draft too and it was just a bonus that we ended up at the same AFL club.
Now that you are back at the club, what are you looking forward to most?
I think being able to tap into that competitive side that we’ve probably been a little bit starved of lately. Training is enjoyable, but as players we really just want to be out there doing what we can so I’m looking forward to games getting back underway. We want to build towards having success as a group and so we’re all really excited to get back out onto the field.
We’ll leave it there, thanks for the chat Cody. Good luck this season.
No worries! Thanks Kavisha.