Defender Jesse Corigliano has been named the Motoink Motorcycles Lion of the Round after an impressive display on Sunday afternoon against Williamstown.
Building in every season since he arrived at the club, he won the Eric Lines Medal (Development League Best and Fairest) in 2016, then played 15 Senior VFL games last year before continuing his improvement this season.
The defender is now a crucial part of the Lions defence, with his run and rebound from the back-50 essential to the game plan.
On Sunday, Corigliano had 19 kicks, six rebound 50’s and seven inside 50’s; all of which were team highs.
He was a key part in a Lions defence that didn’t start as high up the ground as previous weeks.
“We put a big focus on defending before attacking,” he said.
“I tried to follow this as best as I could and just tried to beat my opponent and where possible, help out the other defenders.”
Corigliano has been working on different aspects of his game this season but believes he still has plenty of improvement to come.
“I did well at reading the ball in the air (on Sunday) which I’ve been working on the past few weeks, as my first few games weren’t up to scratch for my liking.”
“In terms of taking the game on, watching guys like Lochie Dickson and Josh Iacobaccio take some running bounces is something I’d like to build towards doing.”
Corigliano’s 19 kicks were crucial in the transition from defence to attack.
“I really wanted to get back to getting some yardage for our team and trying to keep the ball in our forward half as much as possible,” he said, “I like to think I’m at my best when I’m kicking the ball long and getting metres gained.”
Corigliano was impressed with the young players who slotted into the team seamlessly on the weekend and think the Lion are getting closer to a win.
“I think as a young group, we are starting to be in the game for longer periods which is promising, and we are certainly building each and every week.”
“Everyone is starting to get more games together which helps us learn more about individual tendencies of our team mates, and ultimately makes us more predictable to each other.”
The biggest challenge for the young Lions is being able to stay in the game for a long period of time and preventing opposition runs of four or five goals in a row.
“I think that just comes down to youth and experience,” said Corigliano.
“We obviously aren’t there yet but I think the signs are there that when everyone plays their role and sticks to the game plan, it works, it’s just a matter of doing it for longer.”
This article is sponsored by Motoink Motorcycles – 117 Sydney Rd, Coburg. For more information, check out their Facebook page.