Leader, self-taught hairdresser and everything else
Written by Jarryd Barca
Thirty-six disposals, 17 marks, seven rebound 50s and three tackles – meet Brodie Newman.
That was the output from Calder’s Under 18 boys captain in their Round 5 clash against the Geelong Falcons.
Oh… and he’s a key defender.
But don’t be fooled, Calder sent the ball inside 50 more often than its opponent.
It was the second time the 18-year-old has led the disposal count for the Cannons this season and he is the second ranked player in the NAB League for average marks per game (7.5) despite missing Round 4.
The 193cm defender’s impressive performance ironically came just two days after appearing on the ‘Cannons Uncovered’ podcast, where he singled out Richmond’s Nick Vlastuin as a player he keeps a close eye on as a high possession-winning defender.
Vlastuin collected 28 touches against the Demons on Anzac Day eve in a near best-on performance against Melbourne in Round 6 of the AFL.
“He’s a really hard worker. You know Richmond’s back six – Alex Rance, Grimes – they get a big wrap but the guys like David Asbury and Nick Vlastuin, I don’t think they get a big enough wrap,” Newman said.
“You saw last night he was the leading disposal winner for Richmond. He’s great, just someone I really like to watch.”
The aspiring defender acquitted himself with credence in the NAB League contest, often acting as a brick wall for Falcon midfielders and the mastermind behind many of Calder’s offensive thrusts.
While he did his chances of being drafted at the end of the season no harm, he also lured nothing but praise from his coaches post-game.
“I thought Brodie Newman was outstanding across half back,” assistant coach Brett Gourley said.
“In terms of individual efforts it’s probably one of the best games from a Cannon that I’ve seen.
See some of the best stats from #NABLeagueBoys Round 5, with the prolific @CalderCannonsFC captain controlling play against the @GeelongFalcons and one huge quarter proving enough for the @Eastern_Ranges.https://t.co/BlFTDKl5jF pic.twitter.com/SidALQQKSv— NAB League (@NABLeague) May 1, 2019
“Obviously missing Brodie last week was a huge factor against Tasmania, he’s a quality player, a quality person and a quality leader.
“We’re just happy any time that he steps out in a Cannons jumper because we know it’s going to make our job as coaches easier and also helps the players a lot as well.”
Newman missed the side’s Round 4 match-up against the Tasmania Devils after being selected in the Under 18 Vic Metro squad.
Teammates Sam Ramsay, Curtis Brown, Harrison Jones, Campbell Edwardes and Daniel Mott were also selected to take on Vic Country.
Newman said it was a privilege to be a part of the squad and give himself another platform to prove himself as a capable footballer, now a chance to represent the Metro in the AFL National Championships in June.
“It was the first real hit-out against Country and it was just good to get a feel for it above standard and hopefully I get the chance in June,” Newman said.
“It was just good to get out there and have a hit with the boys, most of the boys that played we were with in early December and then early January on our camp so it was good to finally get a go with them actually on the field instead of just training.”
Newman was in the Cannons leadership group last season and he admitted captaining the side was a major goal to work towards.
“To be announced captain of this group was something that I was really proud of and really honoured to be a part of,” he said.
“The bunch of boys that we’ve got this year are just fantastic, we’re a really tight-knit group as we talk about every week (and) nearly every day at training. To lead those boys out every week is just an honour, it’s fantastic.
“I’ve got Daniel Mott and Harry Minton-Connell by my side as vice captains and they’re great as well,” he added.
“There’s plenty of leaders scattered who aren’t labelled as leaders but there’s plenty of them scattered throughout, even the younger guys coming through, they’re even standing up as leaders so they make my job really easy and at the end of the day I’m just another player.”
It’s everyone’s childhood dream to be drafted, but a sign of Newman’s maturity comes from his will to be the best possible leader.
“I just want to play, personally, consistent footy and try to lead the boys as best I can and try and get the best out of the guys coming through,” he said.
“It is the first time (for) some of the boys playing elite level footy, so (I) just try and be a role model for them.
“As an 18-year-old you are trying to play your best footy and keep developing so it is finding the balance between being keeping that team-orientated mentality and also making sure that you put your best foot forward and show people what you can do.
“I think as a captain I’ve got to put the team first and that’s what I’m trying to do week in, week out.
“The leaders I had last year – Mitch Podhajski – the way they took the young guys under their wing was something that I found really helpful so I’m just trying to mirror that this year, that’s one of my goals.”
The bachelor of business management student at RMIT said there are both pros and cons to no longer having to juggle Year 12 commitments with football anymore – like the vast majority of the league are currently doing.
“In terms of individual efforts it’s probably one of the best games from a Cannon that I’ve seen.”
He also spends two days a week working at a freights and removals company and one night a week at local footy club Aberfeldie’s canteen.
“Not being at school gives you a lot of time to relax, kind of do your recovery and focus a lot more on your footy,” he said.
“But you’ve got to keep busy when you finish and some boys struggle to do that and they just go into that footy orientated mindset, so I thought it was really important to do something this year.”
Perth-born Newman spoke of a specific ritual that he sticks by at every game that he plays.
“I’ve got this really old pair of boots – they never get worn – but they just come to every game with me and just sit there in the bag, it’s a silly one but they just sit in the bag,” he said.
“They never get chucked on.”
When questioned, Newman assured that the boots are not homogeneous to ‘Like Mike’ style basketball sneakers with super playing-ability powers.
And if football and business management both don’t come off, Newman – who cuts his own hair every fortnight – could always derive a career out of hairdressing.
“I did a little trim, a little polish up for the boys down at the (Queenscliff) camp, It was six or seven boys who wanted a trim so I thought ‘yeah I’ll give them a trim’ and they were happy with it,” he explained.
The infamous camp cut was then known as ‘The Brodie’.
If his performance against the Falcons is anything to go by, then Newman has no doubt dipped his toes into AFL waters.
Listen to Brodie’s full interview on our podcast below.