Main content

Grand recollections: Dion Prestia

Grand recollections: Prestia Dion Prestia reflects on the 2017 Premiership.

We continue our special post-season series revealing the thoughts of Richmond’s latest premiership heroes on that wonderful one day in September 2017. Today, the Tigers’ prized mature-age midfield recruit, Dion Prestia, talks about the tremendous triumph.

Grand Final lead-up

“The week was actually pretty normal. It was a bit different to what I thought it would be until the parade on the Friday . . . At the parade was when the nerves started kicking in and you started realising the occasion . . . But once that was over you could go home and do your normal routine. And then Saturday morning was good, being a day game. You could pretty much get up, have ‘brekky’, and then head to the ground. But the nerves were definitely kicking in around then . . .”

The big game itself

“Probably the thing that I’ll always remember is my goal in the last quarter. I think we were up by about 35 or 40 points at that stage and it just all sunk in that we pretty much had the game won, although there was a little bit more work to do. I was always confident we were going to win, even though they (Adelaide) started pretty well . . . We’d been in that position before and won.”

At the final siren

“I think the first thing I did was just jump in the air and put my hands up. Then I remember running up to everyone and giving hugs . . . And then, with the lap of honour, I just took my time and got as many photos as I could with everyone . . . It was something really special.” 

The significance of the premiership triumph

“I guess it hasn’t really sunk in yet . . . We’ll be talking about this for a long time, but definitely want another one next year.”

Sharing the premiership success with close mate Josh Caddy

“It’s been a crazy ride. I never thought we’d come back and play in a team together. So to do it at the biggest club in the AFL is really special. We always thought about playing in a Grand Final, or winning a premiership, but for it to actually happen – and in our first year of being together – is crazy . . . It’s just great to win it.” 

Reflecting on his decision to join Richmond

“It doesn’t get much better, really, than this. Even from the start, if we didn’t win it, I was so pumped that I was able to come back and play in Melbourne, at Richmond as well . . . a massive and proud club, which I realised very, very quickly when I got here. Walking past the premiership cups (at the Club), I always saw that empty spot and thought, one day, we’ll be able to fill it up. So I’m just so happy that I was able to come back. I never made my move for success. Obviously, I wanted success, but that wasn’t my main reason to move. To get this (a premiership) is just crazy.”

His strong form in the second half of the year

“I feel that I probably got better as the year went on and to have a finals series like I did, I’m just so pumped. It’s a time when you want to play good footy, that’s for sure, and I feel that the whole team really did . . . We just all hit form at the right time . . . My body, in the last couple of years, had let me down and I’d just been able to get through the main (training) session and play most weeks. But (this year) probably from the GWS game, back in Round 8 or 9, I was able to get out and train twice a week. My knee’s going fine. I had no issues with it at all. It was just being able to step up that bit of training . . . That really helped me through the second half of the year.”

Looking forward to season 2018

“You always have that drive as an AFL player to win a premiership, but once you get a taste of it, you definitely want more. So I’ll have a break now . . . but I just want to come back ready to go, which I definitely know I will be. I’ll probably be back early . . . see the young boys and how they’re going (at training). Just got to drive the standards again, like we did all year . . .”

The Tiger Army

“The ‘prelim’ final against GWS, when there were probably 90,000 Richmond fans, was definitely crazy. And you saw all the celebrations, even throughout Richmond (post-Grand Final) . . . Everyone embraced the Club and all the players . . . All the murals and paintings going up . . . and everyone painting their letter-boxes, their front doors, it was great to drive past and just see that and how much they were supporting us over the finals series. It was great that we could bring them home a flag.”