Game 150 for Marigliani
So much has happened in the past five seasons for Marcus Marigliani it’s hard to know where to begin.
After 98 games with Frankston where he’d won a best and fairest, selection in the VFL representative team as well as the VFL Team of the Year, Essendon took a chance on him as a mature age rookie.
For much of his time at Windy Hill, Marigliani played with Bendigo Bombers, but broke into Essendon’s team to play in the last two home and away games of the 2010 season.
While he didn’t wear out the statistician’s pen, Marigliani thought he would be retained on the Bombers list. It was not a view held by incoming coach James Hird.
Marigliani headed to Sandringham to continue his VFL career and hopefully reignite his AFL career.
He did enough to gain an invitation to train with St Kilda, but the Saints overlooked him.
That’s when his career and, for that matter his life, took an unexpected turn.
Marigliani decided to have a ‘clean out’ operation on his knee, which was deemed a success, but what happened thereafter was not.
He contracted Golden Staph not once, but three times.
During a three week period, Marigliani required four surgeries, the last three to clear away the Golden Staph. It was an emotional roller coaster as his knee continued to balloon before the infection was finally eradicated.
The experience cost him half of the 2012 season, but Sandringham saw enough in Marigliani to appoint him captain of the club in 2013.
Once again hit by injury, Marigliani played just the nine games with the Zebras.
At the end of a season which never scaled the heights that he expected, he decided the Trevor Barker Oval was not where he wanted to play his football. Marigliani and the Zebras had a different philosophy on how they saw the direction of the club.
So Marigliani relinquished the captaincy, departed the club, and headed back to hospital for another operation. Thankfully his arthroscopic ankle surgery was without the drama of his previous hospital visit.
Not surprisingly, when Marigliani decided to head to cross town rivals Port Melbourne, it was big news.
To leave a club that he had been privileged to captain underscored the differences in how and why he plays football.
“I was so honoured to be captain of the footy club, but it wasn’t right in so many different ways,” Marigliani said.
“Sandringham was ultimately there to develop its aligned club (St Kilda).
“It’s not a winning culture, it’s a developing culture. Given I’m 28 and getting to the end of my career I want team success and to finish on a good note.
“I don’t think I could have picked a better club (Port Melbourne). The leaders down there and having Gary Ayres as coach, it’s pretty special.
“To come to a football club and have John Baird, Toby Pinwill, Shane Valenti, Chris Cain, the list goes on, it was a real breath of fresh air.
“It has allowed me to concentrate on my footy, playing my role within the team and for the team.”
One of the many illuminating experiences during the first half of the season at Port Melbourne has been just how strong the club culture is and the strength and character of the players.
Read the full article this weekend in the VFL Record.
Marcus will be a special guest on the Peter Jackson VFL Show on SEN Thursday July 10 at 8:30pm