Impressing Head Coach Paul Kennedy by restricting Zebras’ player Ben Long the week before, Conn was rewarded for his hard work by being selected as the Seniors’ 23rd man.
“I felt a little bit nervous but it was mostly just excitement,” the 177cm, 20-year-old said.
“I’d been playing pretty consistent footy for most of the year in the Development League so to get that chance in the ones was just really exciting.”
“I think I played OK for my first-hit out in the Seniors, but the main thing I found different to Development was how quick the game was.”
“You didn’t really have any time to switch off at all.”
In Sunday’s match against the Demons, Conn managed 14 touches, six marks and two tackles; a great effort in his first Senior appearance.
“I think we came in with a clear plan on how to face Casey, and implemented it really well in those first three quarters, making it a hard, contested game,” he said.
“I think in the last we went away from that a little bit, and they (Casey) picked up on it and probably lifted a gear whereas we dropped one.”
Originally from Sunbury, Conn joined Coburg last year after his TAC Cup run with the Calder Cannons, where he established a reputation for a tough and fast wingman/defender.
His father, Gary, also played in the VFA for Werribee Football Club during the 1970’s, becoming the latest father-son combination to have played Victorian state football.
Kevin Breen, Coburg FC President and former teammate of Conn’s father Gary, did the honour of presenting him with his first #47 Senior guernsey prior to the match.
Hopefully it won’t be his last, as Conn is determined to keep his spot in the Senior team by “getting the defensive side of his game right with tackles and pressure”.
With just four games left of the 2017 season, he hopes to continue working on his defense throughout the preseason and into next year.
“I’ve been gradually improving in this area in the Development side and ultimately was probably the reason I got a game in the Seniors,” he said.
“For me I think this is the most important aspect.”
Coburg General Manager Sebastian Spagnuolo was really pleased to see Conn make his VFL debut, and thought it was “great to see him compete at the level really well”.
“Mitch will now look to consolidate his spot in the side and we back him in 100%.”
“He is a fantastic person who has waited patiently for his opportunity to play VFL football and I’m sure he and his family are also as proud as we are.”
Congratulations to Mitch Conn, and Hear the Lions Roar!
By Brooke Varney. Image courtesy of Kadek Thatcher Photography.