GIANTS young gun Aaron Cadman hopes Saturday’s starring VFL performance can help kick-start a return to form as he looks to break back into the AFL side.

Playing his first VFL game of the season after being omitted from the AFL side, Cadman gave coach Adam Kingsley plenty to think about at the selection table with a brilliant response in attack on Saturday.

Despite the wet and slippery conditions not suited to a key forward, Cadman was a standout in the 14-point win over the Swans, vying for best-on-ground honours as he finished with 18 touches, two goals, three behinds and six marks in an impressive display.


Cadman, the number one pick in the 2022 draft, says Saturday’s VFL performance was a step in the right direction to returning to the AFL side.

“I think it will really help my confidence and hopefully if I can put in a couple more of those performances and keep grinding away then I can be back in no time,” he said.

“Every week will be crucial for me in working on different things and trying to implement those and take them to AFL level when I go back.

“Obviously it’s a bit disappointing because no one wants to get dropped but I think they made the right decision,” Cadman said reflecting on his AFL omission.

“I’d had a slow couple of weeks so it was good to go back and get some confidence and fly at as many contests as I could and bring a couple [of marks] down.

“It was good for the confidence and now I need to keep building from there.”

The promising 20-year-old said it was all about getting back to basics in his bid to return to his exciting best.

“For me it’s about hitting as many contests as I possibly can and just trying to get my hands on the footy,” the athletic 195cm key forward said.

“A big part of my game as a key forward is creating a contest and crashing bodies and so getting a run and jump at it and putting myself in a position to win the footy is going to be crucial for me and will play a big part in me getting back in the AFL side.

“Instead of getting down in the dumps, it’s about sparking up and playing good footy, that’s the only way you can get back in really. Playing good footy is the key.”

While he’s hellbent on returning to the AFL side, Cadman believes a stint in the VFL could help him return to his best.

“I think it’ll be good for me to get a couple more [VFL] games under my belt,” he said.

“Obviously I’d like to come back [to the AFL side] as soon as possible but I think it’ll be good for my confidence [to play VFL].

“It’s that one step back for five steps forward approach.  I’ll just keep grinding away and I think it’ll be good for me to get a couple of good games under my belt before I go back in so I’ll be preparing myself as best I can.”

GIANTS VFL coach Wayne Cripps said Cadman’s performance on Saturday was the perfect response to being omitted from the AFL side.

“It’s always disappointing for guys to be sent back to the VFL but you want them to respond in a certain way and he certainly did that,” Cripps said.

“He came in with a great attitude, he competed hard, he took three nice, contested marks and he had five shots on goal.

“But it was also the stuff he didn’t get numbers for [that was important], with his ability to compete and make sure the ball came to ground to give our smalls a great chance. That was the difference in the end, our ability to win those ground balls off his aerial contests.

“He’s a really driven kid and he knows what his game looks like and it’s not through lack of effort [that he was omitted]. He just had to come back and play how he normally plays and that’s with great attitude and effort and eventually the marks were going to start sticking and on the weekend they did, which was great to see.”