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Doedee in the box seat

Tom Doedee: Learning from VB Tom Doedee explains how he learnt from the best in season 2016.
In meetings, if I didn’t know the answer he’d whisper it to me so that I wouldn’t look like an idiot!
Tom Doedee

Tom Doedee inadvertently took the best seat in the house when he walked into his first-ever Crows team meeting.

Recruited with pick No.17 in the 2015 AFL National Draft, Doedee wandered aimlessly into the Club’s theatre on day one, taking a vacant spot between former players Nathan van Berlo and midfielder Mitch Grigg.

Because of an unwritten rule that sees the players sit in the same seat more often than not, Doedee remained in the front-row position for his entire first year.

“In the first team meeting, I decided to sit next to ‘VB’. I got a bit of an ‘Ooooooh!’ from (the players) when I sat there and I was a bit worried but VB and Griggy both said it was fine for me to sit there,” Doedee said.

It ended up being an inspired choice.

Van Berlo trained alongside Doedee in Adelaide’s defensive group last year, and took the raw teenager under his wing.

Van Berlo’s influence was highlighted in a video announcing his retirement, where Doedee can be heard asking, “You’re not leaving this chair, are you?!”

Watch the video in the player above

Doedee said the respected ex-captain and 200-gamer, who is now a development coach with the Crows, had been one of the biggest influences on his AFL career so far.

“VB was unreal. In meetings, if I didn’t know the answer he’d whisper it to me so that I wouldn’t look like an idiot!” Doedee said.

“If I asked him a question, he was always willing to answer it. Anything I needed, any advice on or off-field, any leadership questions … he was just unreal.

“I’m forever grateful for what he helped me with in my first year, and what he continues to help me with this year around the Club.”