Aaron Cadman after being selected by GWS with the No.1 draft pick during the 2022 AFL Draft at Marvel Stadium on November 28, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

ADAM Kingsley and the recruiting team from Greater Western Sydney descended on Darley in Bacchus Marsh last week to tell Aaron Cadman the news he was hoping for. 

They had made a decision. 

Following weeks of speculation since acquiring the coveted pick No.1 from North Melbourne during the mega four-club trade last month, the Giants were making the 195cm key forward from the Greater Western Victoria Rebels the No.1 pick in the 2022 NAB AFL Draft. 


The 18-year-old just had to keep the news to himself, his family and his manager, Julian Petracca from Hemisphere Management, until it was made official at Marvel Stadium on Monday night. 

"About a week ago Adam Kingsley and the team came down and asked me if I wanted to know?" Cadman told reporters on Monday night. 

"At the start, I said 'No don’t tell me'. Then I was like, 'nah you've got to tell me'. 

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"I’m glad they did. It's been hard holding it in, but it's been well worth it.

"It's a massive relief. The feeling has switched from super nervous to super excited. I'm super fortunate that the Giants have taken me. I look forward to getting into it."

No.1 pick Aaron Cadman with GWS star Toby Greene at the 2022 NAB AFL Draft at Marvel Stadium on November 28, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Cadman becomes the fourth player selected with pick No.1 by Greater Western Sydney – Jon Patton (2011), Lachie Whitfield (2012) and Tom Boyd (2013) – and the first key forward taken by the Giants in the top 10 since they selected Boyd nearly a decade ago. 

The Victorian wanted to be taken with the first pick – just like Will Ashcroft did, who was taken a pick later by the Brisbane Lions – and is prepared for the pressure that comes with being selected first overall. 

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"It is really special, but at the end of day it's just a title," he said.

"There is obviously a bit of pressure added to it, which I don’t mind at all. That will add a bit of motivation and make me a better player. 

"At the end of the day, it's just a title. I'm here to play footy and do what I do."


Greater Western Sydney has been on the hunt for a player to fill the void left by Coleman Medallist Jeremy Cameron since he departed for Geelong more than two years ago. 

The hope is Cadman will blossom into the player Kingsley will build his forward line around for the next decade, once he finds his feet at AFL level. 

Ironically, Cadman has spent time picking the brains of the Geelong premiership star over coffee in recent months, with both spearheads managed by Hemisphere. 

Aaron Cadman hugs family after being selected as the No.1 draft selection to GWS during the 2022 NAB AFL Draft at Marvel Stadium on November 28, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

"'Jezza' has been really good to me. We've had a few coffee dates and he's given me a bit of insight into things – footy stuff and out of footy stuff," he said.

"We’ve got similar builds, not the strongest blokes going around, so he's been giving me a bit of insight into how to use my body and body position stuff. 

"Outside of footy, he's been massive on having a release from footy, as he has his fishing. I'm trying to find that balance."


Cadman has risen from a potential draft pick to a first-round contender to pick No.1 in the past 12 months, using the initial disappointment of not being picked for Vic Country at the start of the year to fuel his transformation from a wingman to a key forward.  

"I didn't know what to think (when he missed out on Vic Country selection at the start of the year). I just turned it into a bit of motivation and it worked out well," he said. 

It has certainly worked out well. And when he wasn’t playing football in 2022, Cadman worked as a full-time electrician alongside his dad and older brothers in the family business.  

Might be a long time before he is back on the tools.