1. He was heading for the NBA until 12 months ago
We can thank Goad's best mate Tom Wheaton for the big man's decision to pursue Australian Football. A dual-sport athlete, Goad was wavering on a U.S. college basketball career as recently as November 2022, when Wheaton passed on the number of South Adelaide's talent manager Mark Clayton. A productive conversation followed and Goad was invited to join the Panthers' pre-season sessions, where he quickly impressed. Twelve months later, he is an AFL player.
2. He's lightning fast for a big man
At 206cm, Goad will be comfortably the tallest player on North Melbourne's list, ahead of fellow ruck prospects Tristan Xerri (202 cm), Callum Coleman-Jones (200 cm) and Hamish Free (203 cm). Surprisingly, he'll also be among the quickest. He ran sub-three seconds in the 20m sprint in SANFL testing, and again at the national Draft Combine, placing him in the top 10 fastest prospects. The SANFL sprint, he said, is "when I first started getting compared to other people and I realised it's a massive X-factor of mine that not many rucks have."
3. His follow-up work is impressive
In South Adelaide's under-18 premiership campaign Goad averaged 21 hitouts per game, but it was his work at ground level which had recruiters viewing him as a first-round draft selection. He averaged 10.4 disposals, earning comparisons to Melbourne's Max Gawn. "I pride myself on the second and third efforts," Goad said. "Tap, follow-up, then if it's not a possession it's a tackle or a bump."
4. He's got an upside nearly as big as his frame
With only a single season under his belt in a full-time football environment, the McLaren Vale product has been on a steep learning curve, and his hunger to learn suggests there is plenty more improvement to come. On joining the SA U18s program "he was a bit shy and raw and almost overwhelmed by the whole thing," coach Tony Bamford told AFL.com.au. "By the end of it, my god. He was just a sponge. From an educational viewpoint, he was always looking for clarity and coming to us seeking further information. He was thirsty for knowledge."
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5. 'A midfield mindset in a Max Gawn body'
Having begun to fill out his lanky frame, Goad is already on his way to competing at the elite level at the stoppages. His determination to work on the more mobile aspect of his game is what could make him an even more valuable prospect for the Kangaroos. "The thing that caught me straight away was that for a big fella, he was wanting to engage in all sorts of activities at training," Bamford said. "He wanted to do as much groundball stuff as marking." A brilliant gather and goal from the pocket in SA's under-18s game against Vic Country underlined Goad's athleticism. When he adds endurance to his pace, he is going to take some stopping.