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Prestia’s dream Tiger start

Round 1: Prestia impresses Dion Prestia highlights from his Round 1 match against Carlton.
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 23: Dion Prestia of the Tigers kicks the ball during the 2017 AFL round 01 match between the Carlton Blues and the Richmond Tigers at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 23, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Dion Prestia in his debut match for Richmond.

It was a dream come true for Dion Prestia in last Thursday night’s 2017 season-opener at the MCG.

Richmond’s gun mature-age midfield recruit had pondered what it would be like taking on Carlton in the opening round, before a huge crowd, from the time he arrived at Tigerland.

The previous biggest crowd Prestia had played in front of, throughout his six seasons at Gold Coast, was 49,069 against the Adelaide Crows at Adelaide Oval in 2014.

“I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like running out Round 1 against Carlton.  I don’t know what to expect,” he said in an interview earlier this year. 

“I can’t wait to embrace it and just see it happen. 

“That’s what I’m really excited about.”

Well, with an attendance of 73,137, a convincing win by Richmond, and his own fine form first-up for the Tigers, Prestia clearly had plenty to be happy about post-match.

The 24-year-old finished with 28 disposals (the team’s second most, behind Dustin Martin), including six clearances, three inside-50s, three rebound-50s, a goal, plus five tackles.

“It was a great win for the boys, and great to see the crowd out there . . . 73,000 is just awesome,” he told Channel Seven on the ground just after the final siren last Thursday night.

“We looked pretty good tonight.  We need to keep backing it up.”