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Dion Prestia at home in the SUN

Pocket rocket Dion Prestia Gold Coast's Dion Prestia never stops running.
I knew I belonged here and I was going to be here for another three years.
GC SUNS Midfielder, Dion Prestia

Midway through 2013, Dion Prestia was at a crossroad.

The diminutive Gold Coast midfielder with the cheeky grin was out of contract, and entertaining the idea of heading back to his hometown of Melbourne.

He was schooled at Kilmore's Assumption College, played for the Calder Cannons in the TAC Cup and represented Vic Metro at the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships. 

He was Victorian through and through.

Like his parents, Prestia was a member of Melbourne Football Club as a youngster and supported the Dees until draft day in 2010. 

His dad Osi has been involved with Melbourne coterie groups and still supplies fruit for the red and blues to this day. The lures to go home were strong.

But Prestia fought off the temptation and signed with the SUNS until the end of 2016.

On the surface it was a small win for the SUNS, but it ran much deeper.

He is small in stature, but has quickly become a club leader, and following his signature the likes of Jaeger O'Meara, David Swallow and Sam Day followed.

"There was always the temptation of going home to Melbourne," Prestia told the AFL Record this week.

"But I thought, 'I've already started here, I've already gone through hard times at the club, where we got smashed every week, and now we were coming into the phase of winning games' … I just thought there was no point leaving. You want to continue something you started."

Upon signing the contract extension, his on-field form flourished and he finished second to Gary Ablett in the best and fairest in 2013, and was named a vice-captain prior to this season.

"I knew I belonged here and I was going to be here for another three years. It really got me going and got me motivated," he said.

Coach Guy McKenna said it was an easy decision to appoint Prestia to the leadership group.

"He'd be a teammate I'd love to have played with because you know what you'll get from him every minute of the game," McKenna said.

Read the full story in the round 10 edition of the AFL Record, available at all grounds.