Essendon should employ a specialist coach to help get the best out of trade recruit Sam Weideman, says Bulldogs great Brad Johnson, as he’s described as “the most frustrating player in the competition”.
And North Melbourne champion David King delivered a scathing assessment of the ex-Demons forward, saying he “never needs a shower” because he “just never gets dirty” on the field.
On Wednesday afternoon – just a few days after learning of the Bombers’ interest – Weideman was sent to his new club along with some late picks in exchange for pick 37, giving him a fresh opportunity at a second AFL side.
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He has struggled to cement his spot at the top level since being taken in the top 10 of the 2015 draft by Melbourne, never playing more than 13 games in one year, with a career tally of 59 across seven seasons
Weideman has kicked 62 career goals, with his best performance being on the big stage of the Demons’ breakthrough 2018 elimination final victory over Geelong, when he had an enormous 24 disposals – still a career-high, seven more than his next-best – plus three goals.
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Herald Sun journalist Jon Ralph compared him to another bargain Bombers trade pick-up, Peter Wright, who cost just a future fourth when he was obtained from Gold Coast, but won Essendon’s best and fairest in 2022.
“Like Peter Wright, his upside is significant. We talked about it on Monday – (he’s) the most frustrating player in the competition,” Ralph said on Fox Footy’s Trading Day deadline special.
“Like Peter when he was at Gold Coast, the best of him, you thought – if he could just get somewhere near that in two of every three weeks, he’d be a regular player. And so having given up very little for him, for a club that’s still got picks 4 and 22, we’ve seen the very best of him.
“He kicked those (three) goals in a final a couple of years ago, and we thought the penny had finally dropped. It hasn’t happened yet but it’s a really smart acquisition from Adrian Dodoro.”
However Kangaroos champion King declared: “Never needs a shower, Sam Weideman, to me, he just never gets dirty.
“He never invests in the game in its absolute totality. I want to see some urgency from him, a spark or a shock of being delisted in effect or traded to another club can do that. It might just be the prod that he needs to say hey, this is it, I need to grab this.
“There’s an opportunity at Essendon, they’re playing some high-speed footy over the last couple of years, and I know Brad Scott will come in and slightly change things. And he might be a favoured commodity for Brad. So this is it, go and grab your position.”
Scott often ran a three tall forward setup during his time coaching North Melbourne meaning Weideman could be a regular feature of the Essendon 22, alongside Wright and young forward Harry Jones.
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But to ensure the Bombers get the best out of Weideman, Bulldogs great Johnson declared they must “do something differently”.
“If they want success straight away with Sam Weideman, I think they need a specialist coach for him,” Johnson said on Fox Footy.
“That might be a one-out, or if they see him as a forward, combine him with Peter Wright. But get someone in to focus in over a whole summer period on their craft and their craft alone.
“I don’t know who that individual is, but there are stars out there who’d be willing at that Barry Hall level, someone that has got unbelievable forward craft that comes in and just focuses on them. To get the best out of them next year immediately.
“Because you’ve got to break the mould with this guy – just throwing him into a forward mix, and he’s coached with seven other blokes around him, he just goes about his business again, it’s up to Sam Weideman – no. Do something different here.”