Witherden was elevated to the AFL Academy in 2016 after a promising second half to 2015 with the Geelong Falcons in the TAC Cup. Playing across half back or through the midfield, Witherden has the ability to pinpoint passes with his elite kicking. . Witherden was set to represent Vic Country in the 2016 NAB AFL Under 18 Championships but a broken leg suffered playing for Geelong College ended his season prematurely. Following a diligent approach to his rehabilitation, the Brisbane Lions selected Witherden with pick 23 at the 2016 NAB AFL Draft. Witherden’s ability to play both attack and defence will be helpful for the improving Lions.