Prestia in March 2017
|Date of birth||12 October 1992|
|Original team(s)||Calder Cannons (TAC Cup)
|Draft||No. 9, 2010 AFL National draft: Gold Coast|
|Debut||Round 2, 2011, Gold Coast
vs. Carlton, at The Gabba
|Height||175 cm (5 ft 9 in)|
|Weight||81 kg (179 lb)|
|2011–2016||Gold Coast||95 (30)|
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of Round 9, 2017.
|Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com|
Dion Prestia (born 12 October 1992) is a professional Australian rules footballer playing for the Richmond Football Club in the Australian Football League (AFL). He previously played for the Gold Coast Football Club from 2011 to 2016 and he was a member of the inaugural Gold Coast side, playing in the club's first AFL match in 2011.
In 2009 Prestia began playing with the Calder Cannons in the TAC Cup. He was a member of the club's premiership side that season and playing in 10 games total across the year. He held averages of 24 disposals, three marks and three tackles per game. Prestia returned to the club in 2010, again playing a key role on the way to premiership glory. He was a standout performer in the preliminary final and played a starring role in the club's Grand Final victory, kicking a goal and recording 36 disposals and eight clearances. Prestia finished the season having played nine matches with averages of 28 disposals, four marks, five tackles and a goal per game. Prestia was the runner-up in the club's best and fairest award, the Robert Hyde Medal. He placed 11th in the Morrish Medal, the award given to the league's best and fairest player. He was further recognised for his contribution to the club, when in 2015 he was selected in the Cannon's "Team of the First 20 Years".
Prestia was selected to represent the Victorian Metropolitan side at the national Under 18 championships in 2010. His tournament was short-lived however, as despite recording 21 disposals in the opening game of the tournament, a torn hamstring sustained in his second match would see him ruled out for the remainder of the series.
Gold Coast (2011–2016)
In the 2011 pre-season, Prestia was earmarked by coach Guy McKenna as the choice for the player likely to be have the best career amongst the Suns' underage recruits. Prestia made his AFL debut in the club's inaugural AFL match, against Carlton in Round 2 of the 2011 season. Prestia played three straight matches before spending six weeks away from the club's senior side. He returned the team in Round 10 and played in all of the next 14 consecutive matches. He kicked his first career goal in Round 11 against West Coast and played in his first win in Round 17 against Richmond. Prestia finished the season having played 17 matches and recording 16.5 disposals per game. His 42 clearances was good for ninth best at the club while his 280 total disposals ranked 10th.
Prestia played the first nine matches of the season in 2012, including in Round 6 where he recorded 32 disposals, his first time breaking the 30 touch barrier. He suffered a hamstring injury early into the club's Round 19 loss to Melbourne. He spent time on the sidelines as a result and would not return to play again in 2012. At the end of the season he had played just 14 matches.
2013 marked a "breakout year" for Prestia according to the Herald Sun's Sam Landsberger. In Round 9 Prestia was named among the Suns' best by AFL Media, with 32 disposals and a goal in the 26 point loss to Hawthorn. Prestia set a career best in tackles in Round 10, when he laid 12 against Geelong in the loss at Kardinia Park. He was once again named in the bests in Round 11, this time with 28 disposals against North Melbourne. Prestia played a stand-out role in the club's Round 14 match against Adelaide. He recorded a career-best 42 disposals and a career-best two goals in the match. He received three Brownlow votes for the match, his first such best-on-ground for his career. Prestia played his 50th career match in Round 22, in a loss to St Kilda at Etihad Stadium. At the conclusion of the season Prestia had played in a then-best 20 games, recording a club-second 509 disposals. He placed second behind club captain (and three time consecutive winner) Gary Ablett Jr. in the club's best and fairest award. Despite interest from multiple Victorian clubs including Melbourne and St Kilda, Prestia stayed true to the Suns and signed a three-year contract extension to remain on the Gold Coast until the end of 2016.
Prestia had an outstanding pre-season ahead of 2014, showing real determination in training and recording a personal best in the two kilometre time trial. He did however suffer a minor calf tear in February, that would restrict his training load in the immediate run-up to Round 1. After being a member of the Suns' emerging leaders group in 2013, media speculation in early 2014 suggested he was ready for a role in the club's leadership group proper and that he was even a possible future captain of the club. He was later elected by his peers to join the group and to serve as one of the club's vice-captains. He began the season in exceptional form, recording 20 or more disposals in each of his first 13 matches. He had more than 30 disposals in five of those 13. Prestia was a stand-out in the club's Round 10 victory over Western Bulldogs, with 25 disposals, five tackles and six marks to his name. He received best-on-ground honours with three votes in the Brownlow Medal tally that round. With the win the Suns finished the Round in the top four of the ladder, the first such occasion in club history. To that point in the season Prestia was the 21st ranked player in the league according to the AFL's official statistics partner Champion Data's ranking point system. Prestia was instrumental in Round 13, where his 11 disposal quarter helped the Suns compete in an ultimately narrow loss to St Kilda. He finished the match with 38 disposals. For the first time in his young-career, Prestia finished the season playing in all 22 of the Suns' matches that season. He gathered 25 or more disposals in 15 of those games, and ranked number one at the club for total disposals (596), equal-first for clearances (118) and third for inside-50s (87), all while kicking a career best 10 goals. He placed third in the club's best and fairest award for his efforts in the superb season. His 13 Brownlow Medal votes was the second most of an Suns player, behind Gary Ablett's 22.
Another injury-interrupted pre-season awaited Prestia in 2015, when he injured his hamstring in a training incident late in 2014. To that point, he had been a stand-out on the training track, winning the club's 2 km time trial and looking likely to repeat the form of the 2014 season. He played his first football that year in the club's final NAB Challenge hit-out, showing no signs of his injury with 29 disposals in the draw against Brisbane Lions. In Round 1 Prestia was the Suns' best-on-ground, picking up 29 disposals and a Brownlow vote in the Suns' loss to Melbourne. Round 3's loss to Geelong saw Prestia continue what AFL Media called a "rich vein of form", with a team-high 29 disposals in the match. After five Rounds Prestia was the number one clearance winner in the league (46). To that point he was also ranked 14th in the league for disposals (142) and fourth for contested possessions (76). During the Suns' Round 8 match against Collingwood, Prestia went down with what appeared was a serious knee injury. Scane later revealed he had suffered a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee. With 12–16 weeks forecasted on the sidelines, Prestia's season effectively came to an end. He had played in all eight matches to that point in the season, recording equal-career bests in average disposals and goals per game as well as leading the competition for total clearances.
Entering the 2016 season media speculation surrounded Prestia and his contract status at the Suns. With just one year left on his deal with the Gold Coast, he was the target of recruiting efforts by multiple clubs around the league. As with the previous two seasons, Prestia would again serve as a club vice-captain in 2016. Prestia would return to fitness in time for the Suns' Round 1 clash with Essendon, recording 29 disposals and one goal in the victory. By the end of Round 9 Prestia was the third leading disposal getter at the Suns (24.9 per game) as well as second for contested possessions and third in clearances, inside-50s and tackles. For the second straight year Prestia would suffer a season ending knee injury when he sustained a knock in the club's Round 16 win over Brisbane. Minor surgery would follow, but the recovery time would rule him out for the rest of the season after playing just 14 matches that year.
Before the season was over, media speculation concerning Prestia's future was again intense. By mid-July he was linked to offers from Carlton, Melbourne and Richmond. One day after the Suns' last game of the season, Prestia announced publicly that he was seeking a trade to a Melbourne-based club. To this point he had received a five-year contract offer from Richmond and was expected to announce the club as his preferred destination. He did so on the 31st of August, setting the table for the two clubs to arrange a deal for his exchange He had played 95 games with Gold Coast over a six-year period. Prestia had played the eighth most games of any Suns player, and was the club's second highest disposal and clearance getter (2241 and 422) and third highest tackle getter across his time there (421).
Prestia was officially traded to Richmond on 19 October 2016, in exchange for a first round draft selection and a swap of second round picks.
He spent much of his first Richmond pre-season on light duties, still recovering from knee surgery underwent on the Gold Coast. Prestia made his Richmond debut in the opening match of the season, Richmond's Round 1 victory against Carlton at the MCG. He finished the match with a team-second 28 disposals as well as six clearances, five tackles and a goal. The 73,137 strong crowd was the largest Prestia had ever played in front of, with the previous top of 49,069 coming in 2014 against Adelaide at the Adelaide Oval. In early April club officials revealed Prestia would likely remain on a reduced training load for the entire season, in an attempt to keep him fit and able to play his first full season in three years. Prestia's 22 disposals and seven tackles in Round 4 helped Richmond to a victory over Brisbane and the club's first 4-0 start to a season since 1995. He played his 100th career match in Richmond's Round 5 win over Melbourne, recording 20 disposals in the process.
- Statistics are correct to the end of Round 5, 2017
|Totals||Averages (per game)|
- Dion Prestia to make AFL debut
- Footy trio flies above the pack
- Calder Cannons focus on kicking
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