Supercoach 2015 – Caleb Daniel

Published by Jock on


Caleb Nugget Daniel:  Comparisons to Ablett…..WHAT!

Some of you are aware on Xmas eve my little bloke Sammy was involved in an accident. He turned 3 a couple of weeks before Xmas. The freight train he is flew backwards off elevated rails head first onto concrete. He sustained a serious head injury. His mother panicked & made the mistake of moving him thinking she needed to get him to a doctor.

What was really needed & a lesson to all was that anyone suffers a head injury do not move them & wait for a trained professional to help them. Getting a phone call & learning your little man has sustained a head injury & isn’t moving was the most challenging moment of my life. Getting to him would normally take 10 minutes, but given it was Xmas eve & close to a major shopping centre it took 30. It felt like 3 decades & I seemed to be stuck behind every nanna in a Nissan pulsar in the country. When I arrived at the scene I was immediately pulled aside by the paramedics to ensure me he had regained use of his limbs. I can’t speak highly enough of how they treated him & the follow up they did. Amazing people.

After a thorough assessment at the Monash Medical centre we were told he had hyper extended his neck (nearly broke it) & the trauma area was the same one that claimed Phil Hughes. Fortunately for little Sammy no damage was done to his blood vessels. But that wasn’t clear for some time. When it was I alerted his friends & family via FB he had been up to mischief but he was eventually going to be Ok.

Late Xmas day they let him go & not before a personal visit from Santa & the fire brigade, but with some strict conditions. If it wasn’t Xmas day they would not have let him go. It certainly has slowed him down. We were told he would sleep more than usual, & that’s what has happened.

Little Sammy is a truly special little guy. He cried for the first 9 months of his life. No doctor could tell us why. Several said he was probably autistic. One day when I was trying to sit him up in a high chair he simply slumped. It wasn’t right. I decided to take him to see a client of mine who was a specialist Child Chiropractor. She immediately identified why Sammy had been crying for so long. The whole backside of his body was out of place (neck, shoulders, spine & hips). She spent 4 months fixing him up.

But what nobody realised until he was 16 months old was that Little Sammy was gifted.

Shortly after he started running the dust settled. I took off one Saturday to a golf tournament & left my folks in charge of my 2 little boys. When I returned I was stunned. My old man tossed the round ball in front of Sammy & he instinctively dribbled it to the fence & back at 16 months old. Diagonally it was 30 metres there & back. I dropped my stubbie the first I saw him do it.

He plays with the boys from his brother school (after school) where he has earned the nickname of Little Ronaldo. But if you saw his face on a regular basis “Messi” would be much more appropriate.

I hope he’s as good with the oval ball. If he is he’ll be in your 2030 side.

Based on the events over Xmas I decided to dedicate my next piece to another courageous & gifted little man.

The very Little Master: Caleb “Nugget” Daniel

I was particularly interested in who the Bulldogs drafted this year. Given the amount of experience they offloaded in Griffen, Cooney, Higgins Gia etc the kids they brought in would be crucial to their development. Given those guys were walk up starts that means positions are available at Doggy land.

The Bulldogs snared five smart decision-makers and impressive runners to complement father-son key defender Zaine Cordy.

The bulldogs entered the draft at pick 26 & had 5 picks to 46 where they were done. The last live pick they used was on a little fella called Caleb Daniel. A little bit of research & there were comparisons to Jesus Christ himself – GAJ.

WHAT! How the hell did he last to pick 46? There was a very good reason. In this day & age big bodied midfielders are all the rage. Nugget will never be one. In fact standing at 168cm he is the shortest player to land on an AFL list since Bulldogs champion Tony Liberatore. Tom’s dad. And what a player he was. Libber snr played almost 300 games for the Doggies, shortest player to win a brownlow (And probably always will be), & quite rightly earned his place in the Doggies team of the century. As an in & under player they don’t get much better. Perhaps in the minds of the Bulldogs recruiting team’s mind was well the last little bloke we hired turned out to be pretty bloody good. Let’s get another one.

As soon as I saw the Ablett comparison it was a drop everything & look into this bloke. What I found straight away was a 9 minute video on YouTube showing the highlights of his demolition of both Vic Country & Vic Metro for SA.  It was more than eye catching. What a beauty this little golden nugget was for SA. Stop reading & watch this.

South Australia coach Brenton Phillips said;

“Pound for pound he’s the best footballer in the draft. He’s the complete player. His understanding of the game is terrific.”

No arguments from me!

A couple of the handballs he dished out were incredible. Across those 2 games he racked up 48 disposals at 92% DE. He kicked 6 goals (3 in each). Which one was the best one? Not sure. They were all fantastic. He certainly knows where the big sticks are. You wouldn’t expect a bloke that size to kick goals from outside 50, but he did it twice. The snap from the boundary was a gem. The set shots on an angle were every impressive but the goal he kicks in very heavy traffic dancing around defenders was jaw dropping. He finished the National Championships with a staggering average of 172. Um, come again. That’s right 172. Mind boggling.

One of his games he scored 217. Christ Almighty! Now that is Abblettesque! And that was against Vic Metro who is traditionally the best team in the championships. Has anyone else ever raised the bat for a double century against Vic Metro. I doubt it. And nugget knocked them over by 9 points.

Interestingly in the SANFL he was being used as an inside mid. Brenton decided considering nugget missed most of the season with an ankle injury to play him as a high half forward outside mid. He came into those games with very little conditioning. He made a pretty good fist of it. What an incredible footballer Nugget is.

I’d suspect if Nugget was a big bodied MID he would have been pick 1 by the length of the Flemington straight. The one thing that really stood out to me in the video was Nugget has a football brain & reads the play instinctively. More research & comparison’s to Diesel Williams & Daniel Kerr emerge. Not particularly nice. If there are any suspicious fires at Doggie land they’ll through the book at him.

He wasn’t finished impressing after the Championships.. at the draft combine he was the equal winner of the beep test & 2nd best ever result. So he ticks the box for endurance.

2015 Price: $117,000 (Lovely)
2015 Position: MID/FWD (Lovely)
Height: 168 cm (Bugger)
Weight: 68 kg (Bugger)
National Champs Average: 172 (Wowsers unbelievable)
AFL team: Western Bulldogs
Previous team: South Adelaide (SANFL)
AFL team number: 35
Significant history: Shortest player to land on an AFL list since Tony LiberatoreHighest scoring player at the national championshipsComparisons to some legends of the gameAll Australian Under 18’s Nationals.

Plenty of SANFL experience for South Adelaide.


Because of Nuggets size most experts had no idea if he would get drafted & when. Some had him a rookie option. The Doggies had other ideas. And in encouraging news for Doggies fans & SC lovers here’s what Jason McCartney who picked him had to say;

“Many people have questioned his size but we went back and analysed how he won the football. He ran a 16.1 in the beep test so he’s quite different to some of the smalls we have at the club. His kick and decision making and ball retention are so critical in the game, he was exceptional at that.”

His SANFL coach Brad Gotch. He said that at pick No.46 the Bulldogs had found an incredibly creative footballer and, after running a 16.1 beep test at the combine – an aerobically gifted player.

“I’m thinking a little bit like a Boomer Harvey. Boomer’s quite quick, but Caleb’s got the endurance to be able to cover the ground and get into all the dangerous spaces

It’s amazing, you saw in the state championships – some of the stuff was as good as you get, just elite.

He’d pick out targets that you don’t even see and hit them.

It’s quite a remarkable trait that a few would have noticed and the Bulldogs have decided to take a punt. The key thing I thought was that he matched it with senior footballers as an 18-year-old.

We were in the top three or four teams in the competition, got through to the finals and he was very creative and held his own.

I haven’t seen him get knocked off the ball too often or not be able to tackle and get brushed aside.

He didn’t look intimidated or out of his depth – he was clearly a class above.

He was able to tackle and pressure and do all the things that you need, so why can’t he?” (at AFL level).

Another Analysis:

Daniel isn’t just an athlete though, he’s a footballer too. Below the knees his hands are excellent and he doesn’t ever fumble with his pickups always clean. When receiving a handball irrelevant of how poor the handball is, whether it’s behind him, on the ground or too far in front of him he collects it cleanly without breaking stride. By hand and foot he is excellent. Not only is he technically a good kick but his vision and decision making are elite. No matter the pressure he’s under, Daniel is able to effectively execute high degree of difficulty kicks with ease.

He spots targets in space others aren’t able to and whether it be across his body or on the outside of his foot, he’s able to execute the kick to perfection. By hand he’s able to hit targets to advantage and release runners with ease. While Daniel is an excellent user of the ball in space, under pressure he’s even better being able to always find targets even in heavy traffic. Daniel’s ability to evade the tackle is excellent and on the rare occasion he is tackled he’s able to get his hands free and fire off an effective handball.

While Daniel’s disposal efficiency at both SANFL and under 18 level is excellent, not only are his disposals effective but they’re damaging; they’re not just cheap handballs out the back or long bombs to contests, nearly every time Daniel gets the ball you can be sure his disposal is going to lead to the team being closer to a goal

Selection Purpose

Rookie DPP cash cow. Given he knows how to find the footy & hit targets he could loom as a bargain. The question is will he get a game & when. The champion data boys certainly don’t mind how he goes about it & if he can string some games together he could put in some valuable scores in your Fwd line.

Risk factor

Blatantly obvious is his size. I would be surprised to see him in the Bulldogs 22 for round one. And I would suspect when & if he does get a game he is a significant sub risk. Having said that proving his endurance is elite why would they make him sub. I did notice on the video he was a little one sided preferring to kick the pill on the outside than use his left. The one time he did use it he turned it over.

The Good

  • Elite Endurance only ever bettered by Billy Hartung at the combine
  • Excellent DE
  • Reads the play & knows where to go
  • Racks up the numbers
  • Can Kicks Goals

The bad

  • Not much
  • His size
  • Not as good on his left side
  • His helmet might run head first into Sandiballs helmet!

Final Verdict

The fact that Nugget has played plenty of senior footy in the SANFL has me excited that he might be a rookie option for 2015. And one that can score.

A player with uber-elite endurance, speed & DE (disposal efficiency) can’t be ignored. Very few if any player has entered the AFL system with all of them. But he is quite literally almost half the size of Sandiballs.

I’d love the Barron’s thoughts here, I’m certain he knows all about him. Despite the fact that SA won the Nationals only 9 were drafted.

Surprisingly only 1 team member went first round (Sam Durdin). Harrison Wigg (pick 35), Declan Hamilton (joining Nugget at the Doggies pick 39) Alex Neal Bullen (Pick 40) & Billy Stretch (Pick 42 both those boys at Melbourne) are all value & worthy of keeping an eye on. They can all play & were instrumental in SA going back to back.  With the exception of Durdin they all landed in “The Zone of rookie Value”!

As for the Ablett comparisons well I can understand to some extent why. But GAJ has a fend off (don’t argue) ability that is legendary. We call him the little master for a reason. What would that make Nugget? Mdiget master? I very seriously doubt he will be able to do what GAJ can. And that’s only because of his size. GAJ is 182 cm, he’s got 14 cm on Nugget. Many Mids these days stand at 185+. And Nugget is the best part of a foot shorter.

When & if Nugget starts playing for the Doggies he will be a cult hero. I’d be surprised if he’s named for round 1, but at the same time I wouldn’t. He could very well start in the 2’s & put in some blinders & demand selection. So he could very well be a downgrade option in the early to mid-part of the season.

If ever there was man who could make it these days at sub 170 cm Caleb Nugget Daniel is the man. Whatever the case he’s a hell of a talent & I hope he makes it. He’s an exciting player to watch. If I was getting married the day he debuted I’d cancel the wedding.

I’m not concerned at his preseason unless he gets injured. His endurance is elite no problems with the tank. He will be at the pointy end of my watchlist come NAB cup. It will tell us if he can defy the odds & play at the highest level despite his size.

Round 1 option: If he’s named it would be tough to knock him back.

Later debut if at all having seen 2 games with DPP: definitely a tasty option as well




Twitter: @paulmaltman




AFL Supercoach Legend Jock ReynoldsThis article has been penned by an elite Supercoach analyst hand picked from the talent pool of the Jock Reynolds Fantasy Footy Community. He has stood up within our community as a man of fantasy substance, and has displayed the spirit of togetherness, positivity and community that we value significantly.


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Thank GOD…i was having withdrawals…


Great to hear your little boy is okay – community is with you Pieman


Superb stuff INP, you almost had me in tears with that intro.
Hope your little man is coming along ok, can sympathise for sure.
First rate insight on Nugget. Seemed to have a pretty solid season with the Panthers and put in a decent showing in the finals to help South get to a Prelim.
As a DPP he will be on everyone's radar in the lead up to round 1.
Lets hope he gets a call up early.


Ripper of a review Pieman. Sorry to hear of the tough times your family has gone through around xmas and glad your little 'freight train' is recovring well. Having a 3 year old son myself, makes me appreciate more what it might have been like for you.

I'd be surprised if midget didnt play round 1! His pre season game performances will make him a certain starter come round 1, me thinks. Awesome review again.


I understand the trauma you were in and I'm glad that the young fella will still have a chance of being drafted by the blues.

Re: Caleb. If the doggies pick him for round 1 so will I.


dont think he's DPP in SC2015, i'm on team picker at the moment and caleb daniel is listed as a FWD only


Is he DPP?
I only see him being listed as a FWD under Supercoach Gold Picker…


Very happy and relieved for you, your family, and all those close to you that your young bloke came thru that near tragedy Pieman.

Re: Caleb…I'm with Wombats. He's a lock for me if picked by Dogs round 1. After watching the highlights packages of those two games, he has elicited a surge in the front trouser region. Only the highlights of Nakia Cockatoo (I'm a MAD Cats man) in that TAC grand final has had the blood pumping to that extent.


Great write up pie man.

Glad to hear the young fella is ok and can’t wait to get the inside goss when he is a sc rookie in 2030.

I really like Daniel and if selected by the doggies will be in my side. With gia now gone it makes predicting the doggies sub a lot harder.

Other players fighting for his spot would be honeychurch and hrovat. At least with a new coach they will all be on a level playing field from the start of preseason.

If he does start round 1 he may be the Lewis Taylor of 2015 if not when he does break into the side he could be the honeychurch of last season.

Regardless of when he plays I think he will be in a lot of sides either as a cash cow or a down grade option


Had him locked since draft week!!

Seaford Scouse

Great to see the reviews back boys and what a job by you INP, fantastic write up on one of my fave rookies and heart-warming piece on your little fella, hope to see a write up on him here in 15 years 🙂 Love this guy though and have him slotted currently on the pine which is somewhere I’m not expecting him to be at Whitten oval come round 1. With so many forward losses coupled with the fact that Dalhaus is rumored to move more into the midfield action to cover Griff moving on the stage is set for one Caleb Daniel, let’s hope the curtain rises come round 1, dead-set lock if so.

General Soreness

INP first things first, all the best to your little man and your family seriously worrying I cannot send enough wishes in your direction, having taken a couple of reads to get past the news of your young bloke I can now comment that I reckon that there should have been a bugger next to Western Bulldogs but I am hoping this year is different but first year coaches rarely take the risk of playing any new kids outside top 10 let alone an undersized kid, I hope the do play him though and if he gets a solid pre season run, lock!


Now that was a review to help me over the detox enforced over the last few days on player reviews
That was forthright and enlightening INP –
If he is named in seniors anytime soon he will be an interesting watch and I am sorely tempted to lock the little Nugget in the Fwd line
I have yet to watch the video link you provided ( I'm waiting for a cold un from Ze Fridge!!)
Great work, Great write up and if Nugget has a miniscule of talent but a ticker like yours he is in mate..
Cheers mate and thanks again for your dedication to stonking articles
Time to liberate some POWs from Ze Germans ("To the fridge!!)


Great to hear the little Pieman is getting back out there, mate. I'll have him on my Supercoach radar for sure.

Pre draft there were 2 guys from the SA team that I wanted the Crows to take, which were Caleb Daniel and Keenan Ramsey. We got 1 of them and I understand why the Crows took Mitch McGovern at 43 instead of Daniel (no forward depth now that Smack and Johnston are out), but I am a HUGE Daniel fan and reckon the Bullies got a steal with him at 46 (though I do tend to hype the Croweater boys up a bit!).

Anyway, if I was betting on a sub 170cm player to make it, i'd take all the money in my wallet (which is currently $16.30) and put it on Daniel, because if he doesn't make it, it certainly won't be from a lack of trying on his part and If Taylor can make it than I don't see any reason why Daniel can't. In 5 years time when they start talking about "draft steals" I reckon Daniel could be #1 on the list.


Thanks for the review Pieman. At $117,000 he would be very difficult to pass up if he gets a game. I think Zorko struggled to find an AFL gig for a while due to his size as well.

I'm relieved that your boy survived diving head first onto concrete, sounds like a wombat skull, solid bone:0


Numbat. A fluffy tailed ballet dancing bush monkey that exists on ants because they're too scared to hunt anything bigger. Mate why would you name yourself after such an embarrasment?


being a bulldog supporter I'm rapt that we got him and I have him in my team at the moment. But he is only a FWD in supercoach gold


I'm a doggies fan too – locked him into my team on Draft night.

I think he is a big chance for R1 – we have a need for good ball users

He reminds me of Sam Mitchell – could be our little general

he might even be a keeper



I remember reading that FB post about your son. Knew if he was as scrappy as his paw, he'd be up and about in no time. Glad that was the case and Sammy is ruling the schoolyard again.

And you tipped me off to CD a couple weeks ago and watched that highlight reel of him. Beyond impressive. You could easily see the skills and ferocity that he plays with. Just makes things happens. Like Spud Webb and Muggsy Bogues, if you have the talent and have no quit in you, being a successful professional player can be done. And I think CD definitely has the skills for that. Like the rest, if named R1, he's in locked. Because I think once he's in there, he will fight to stay on the field. Fantastic writeup, INP. Easily your best.


Hey mate, awesome write up! Just a quick note, he is fwd only


Really surprised you don't have Caleb, I mean Daniel, no I mean Caleb in your priorities. Word from the kennel is he'll get game time to prove himself.
As Pieman says, if he's named rd1 it wont be tough to knock him back, he'll be a mortal lock.


How does premiership player Caleb Daniel sound?