Story by Tim Michell
COBURG midfielder Daniel Venditti etched his name into the VFL club’s history books by becoming the first player in more than 50 years to claim three consecutive best-and-fairest awards. The 28-year-old aspires to captain the Lions. DANIEL Venditti wrote himself into Coburg’s history books by claiming his third-straight Jim Sullivan Medal last month.
The influential on-baller shared the club’s best-andfairest award with defender Michael Hartley, becoming the first player since Lions’ legend Ray Jordan in 1961 to top the vote count in three consecutive years.
Venditti enjoyed a consistent 2015 campaign, named in the Lions’ best 12 times from 18 matches.
He was also Coburg’s top vote-getter in the JJ Liston Medal count, finishing eight behind eventual winner Nick Rippon.
“I wasn’t too sure how I’d go, it still hasn’t sunk in yet,”
“There’s only a couple of people that have done that before. I’m humbled and a little bit embarrassed to be honest.”
The 28-year-old could be in line to become Coburg captain in 2016 after the retirements of stalwart Nick Carnell and fellow vice-captain Ben Clifton.
“It would be something that if it came up, I’d jump at the chance to do that,” Venditti said.
“It’s probably about 270 odd games of experience we’ll lose now.
“I was just thinking about that the other day, it’s going to be a bit of a challenge.
“If something like (captaincy) comes up ... or even just vice-captain again and mentoring some of the younger guys, I’d be happy with anything.”
Clifton has called time on his VFL career after eight seasons at Piranha Park.
He joined the club from Seymour in 2008 and has been a member of Coburg’s leadership group since 2010.
Hartley has established a reputation as one of the VFL’s most reliable backmen in recent years.
The key defender has been invited to this month’s AFL Draft State Combine, where he will have the chance to push his case for another opportunity at the top level.
He played 18 games in 2015 and was named among Coburg’s best players on nine occasions.
Venditti and Hartley finished ahead of VFL Team of the Year member Ozgur Uysal in the count. Defender Jai Robinson was crowned the Lions’ Development League best and fairest.