No Dee-vided loyalties for Prestia

Sportal August 1, 2012, 1:54 pm
Dion Prestia

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Gold Coast midfielder Dion Prestia is not exactly expecting the warmest of homecomings when his side head south to face Melbourne on Sunday.

A born and bred Victorian, the 19-year-old is relishing the opportunity to play in front of family and friends.

The only trouble is, none of them will be in his corner.

The Prestia clan are dyed-in-the-wool Demons supporters - Dion included - and not even his burgeoning role in the Suns' engine room will change their ways.

"I think Dad will probably be supporting the Dees on the weekend," Prestia confessed on Wednesday morning.

"My whole family are Demons fans. They're the team I supported for 18 years, but hopefully this week I can disappoint him."

While Prestia admits he still has a soft spot for Melbourne, clearly there will be no question over where his loyalties will lie on Sunday afternoon.

At the very least, the hard-nosed midfielder is looking forward to running out on the hallowed turf of the MCG for the first time in nearly a year.

The Suns have only played there twice before - against the Demons in Round 23 last year, and earlier this season in a heavy loss to Collingwood that Prestia missed due to injury.

"It's always good to get back to the MCG. It's the home of football," he said.

Prestia acknowledges that Gold Coast have a 'good opportunity' to notch their second win of 2012 against an undermanned and out-of-sorts Demons side this weekend.

But to start turning their chances into premiership points, the Suns will have to start learning to deal with pressure.

In their 72-point loss to ladder-leaders Sydney on the weekend, they crumbled when the Swans put the blowtorch on them.

"We tried to play quick and get through them with handballs, but their pressure around the midfield and their contested footy was just too intense for us," Prestia said.

"That's why we had 15 more possessions than them - because we kept on handballing. We were giving the pressure to someone else in the team.

"The way they organise and challenge each other on the field, it shows why they've been such a good team for a long time."

But Prestia says the heavy defeat was just a blip in the radar.

Over the past month, Gold Coast have put together some of their best form in the club's short history, and the pint-sized midfielder can feel the growth.

"We've really matured as a team in the last couple of weeks," Prestia said.

"We're starting to run out games a lot more. The other teams have had more pre-seasons than us, obviously, but we're starting to play well in the last quarter, and our third quarters have improved.

"Teams haven't been able to get five goals in a row in 10 minutes (like they used to)."

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