On paper Brett Deledio has had a very good AFL career to date since being drafted in 2004 by Richmond. 243 AFL games played and a host of personal accolades along the way. 2x All-Australian, 2x Best & Fairest winner and an AFL Rising Star award among other things is a CV most players would happily take.
But one thing missing for Deledio is team success and most notably a Premiership. At the Tigers the utility player spent much of his time in a struggling team with limited finals action during his tenure. In fact Deledio has not played in a solitary finals win.
After ten plus years at Punt road the 29 year old made the move to GWS in last year’s trade period signing a three year deal and sighted a fresh start as his main motivation.
“I started to lose a bit of … I wouldn’t say passion, but I lost motivation and the love of the game. I just wanted to reinvigorate myself.”
The veteran did not depart Richmond with any ill feeling and had the blessing of coach Damien Hardwick to move on. Season 2016 saw Deledio hampered with injury and he played only 11 games, his lowest ever games tally in a season.
The Tigers will still be paying a portion of Deledio’s contract which was a key component in getting the trade completed. The Giants are confident their acquisition can play a valuable role. But multiple Premiership player and Fox Footy commentator Cameron Mooney is certainly bullish on what the ex-Tiger can provide.
“We’re talking about a guy that last year had injuries with that Achilles, calf. (But) if he can get that up and going and his body holds up, can you imagine him on the outside of (Dylan) Shiel, (Callan) Ward — all of these guys just feeding him the ball, running through the middle of the ground from a half-forward flank pushing up — that could just be enormous for them.”
Despite only playing 11 games in 2016, Deledio still averaged 23.1 disposals per match, slightly above his career average of 22.8. Someone who can break the lines, has good skills and is capable of kicking a goal certainly has the potential to be a valuable addition to any AFL side.
Eleven without a finals win is a long stint without September joy for any player. In 2017 Brett Deledio might not just be celebrating his first finals victory but potentially a Premiership as well.