North star set for SANFL
Saturday, 4th January, 2014
By By Ethan James
The 2013 Lionel Johnston medallist Heath Caldwell has made the move to South Australia and will ply his trade in the SANFL this year.
The 20-year-old was picked up at the end of last season by the North Adelaide Roosters following a stellar year for North in the local AFL competition.
Caldwell is hoping he can emulate the feats of fellow Broken Hill junior Mitch Clisby.
Clisby, who now has eight AFL games to his name for Melbourne, also made the transition from Broken Hill to North Adelaide before being snapped up by the Demons in the 2013 rookie draft as pick number 19.
Caldwell said some conversations with the former Robins’ player helped him make the decision to relocate.
“(Mitch) really encouraged me to get down there and give it a crack and stick at it,” he said. “I fitted right into the club almost straight away.”
He started his career at South before making the switch to the Bulldogs for 2013, with the move paying dividends.
Aside from premiership success, the midfielder proved a revelation for his new club and went on to claim the two highest personal honours.
Along with the Lionel Johnston Medal, he won the umpire-voted Mail Medal on 29 votes, one ahead of South’s Jordan Johns.
He was only the 15th player to win both awards in the same season and just the fifth Northie to achieve the feat.
Caldwell, who was a part of the Hawthorn Hawks scholarship program in 2008, expects to play more on the wing for North Adelaide until he adds a few more kilograms to his frame.
That could happen in quick time, with pre-season training now the focal point.
“It’s quite hard... we train in larger sessions of between two and two and a half hours which is a bit different,” he said.
“There are four to five sessions a week and more competitive work which makes it a lot more demanding.
“Physically it’s quite taxing, although I shouldn’t complain too much as I haven’t started working yet.”
Although the training in Adelaide has been a step up, adjusting to life in there had been a breeze.
“I’m getting to know where to go... fortunately I’ve got friends who are here for uni and work so it is pretty good.”
The Roosters open their SANFL campaign on Sunday, April 6 at Prospect Oval against new team Adelaide who are the feeder club to their namesake in the AFL.
Caldwell will be champing at the bit to be part of the side.