Brayden's second run-in with his idol
That's twice now Brayden Fiorini has been a little starstruck when confronting his football idol, Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury.
The first was in Los Angeles of all places about five years ago when Fiorini was still a Magpies supporter.
"I bumped into him overseas. I was over there with my family, and I just walked past him and asked for a photo, and a chat,” Fiorini told Australian Regional Media. "It was pretty weird.”
The second time was last Saturday at the MCG with Fiorini, now a Gold Coast Sun, making his AFL debut.
A midfielder, Fiorini lined up on Pendlebury on at least a few occasions at the stoppages.
"I think my first centre bounce I was on him,” the 19-year-old said.
"That was pretty surreal, but it was a great moment. I've watched him pretty much my whole life. He's an awesome player.”
Fiorini impressed too in his first outing, gathering 17 disposals, despite the 71-point loss to the Magpies.
"I started off pretty slow, didn't get much of it, but with each quarter, I felt more and more comfortable. I suppose less overwhelmed,” he said.
"It was a good experience for me to learn about what you need to do to make it at that level, sort of get a taste for it heading into next year. It was a good start, but I need to work on a lot of things, such as build my body up.”
Taken at pick 20 in the 2015 national draft, Fiorini was forced to bide his time after rupturing the lateral collateral ligament in his right knee playing in the NEAFL.
He was out for four months.
"Just to get back from that and get my opportunity was great,” Fiorini said.
Particularly with Jaeger O'Meara and Dion Prestia intending to move on from the club, more opportunities will come for Fiorini, who was only too happy to re-sign midway through the year.
He gets another chance tonight against Port Adelaide, alongside Darcy MacPherson, with whom he went to school at St Helena Secondary in Diamond Creek in Melbourne and played TAC Cup footy with at the Northern Knights.
MacPherson is back in the side after debuting earlier in the year.
"We're living together now, out on our own, makes the transition easier,” he said.
- TERRY MALLINDER