At the upcoming AFL Draft, recruiters will be choosing the best prospects to join their respective clubs.
Cody Ninyette, a 19-year-old who hails from the Perth Football Club, would appeal to clubs crying out for a small forward, such as Brisbane, Fremantle, Geelong, Gold Coast, GWS, and West Coast.
In his first season of senior WAFL football, the Kelmscott junior took out the Ron Tucker Memorial Trophy (Perth’s Leading Goalkicker Award) with 28 goals from 18 games.
“I guess to about round 15, I was kind of neck-and-neck with Brennan Stack, and Callum Papertalk was pretty close to me… I’ve never won a goalkicking award before and I started kicking a couple of goals here and there so I thought if I set my sights on winning that Award it might come true so it does mean a lot to me,” Ninyette said.
The talented youngster finished fourth in the Butcher Medal (Perth’s Best & Fairest) with 38 votes after averaging 16 possessions, four tackles, three marks and three inside 50s in his 18 games.
What is even more remarkable about Ninyette’s season is that he has had to play in a different position. As a junior he was a star midfielder and was one of only four players to be in the top 10 of the 2015 & 2016 Jack Clarke Medal counts – the others being East Perth duo Mitchell Dobson & Stan Wright, and Peel’s Michael Humble.
“So 2015, I was the new kid on the block. I didn’t really know I had the skill but when I started playing a few more Colts’ games I was getting better and better. In the ’15 season I didn’t really rate myself, but then I made the top 10 and I was kind of shocked when I found out. In the ’16 season, we started off with 14-0, 12-0, we didn’t lose a game and I felt like I had a really good season, that season,” he said.
The budding star credits former St Kilda midfielder, Clint Jones, for his influence and guidance.
“He didn’t get drafted till he was in his twenties and he’s just an elite player, almost winning the Sandover this year and [winning] our Best & Fairest for Perth. The way he goes about it at training, and the way he is on gameday, his preparation and all that, I really look up to him and yeah, he’s probably the most influential player [for me],” he said.
What is even more exciting is that he has also been mentored by WAFL great Barry Cable, who has given him the belief that he can make it to the AFL.
“I think it was in my first Colts’ season, I started playing some good footy and I kicked five and Barry, he pulled me in his car in the car park and he said ‘to put your head down and you’ve got the skill to take your game to the next level’ and I never really adapted on that. Then in my second Colts’ season he kept coming down and watching games and I played good here and there, then in my first season of League, he pulled me aside and said to ‘keep going and keep doing what you’re doing because you’ve got what it takes,’ and I really like Barry. Obviously, he’s a role model for everyone, so it meant a lot for him to say that,” he said.
There is no doubt about Ninyette’s ability. He has the talent and hunger to succeed at AFL level.