Stevens set for 2016
Dyson Stevens football resume already includes senior WRFL Div 1 football, a WRFL Div 2 premiership and stints at two VFL clubs. But at just 22 years of age his best football is still ahead of him.
Stevens began his football career at Deer Park as a junior where he won four club goalkicking awards and four best and fairests. He also made his senior debut at Deer Park as a 17 year old. Despite his handy junior credentials he was overlooked for Western Jets selection. In 2013, as a 19 year old, he decided to try his luck at Werribee in the VFL where he played the season at Development League level.
Back at local level in 2014, Stevens moved to Parkside and formed a strong relationship with new Bloods assistant coach Michael Licciardo. “I like to think I played a role in helping Dyson develop into a much more mature footballer” Licciardo noted. “We hit it off almost immediately upon his arrival at Parkside. We play a similar style of football and the natural competitiveness was evident. We would always stay back after training, working on our goalkicking, leading patterns or anything else that would make us more valuable to the team. I like to think we helped each other a lot in what was eventually the ultimate success”.
The youthful enthusiasm that Stevens brought with him in that season played a big part in the team success they had during their premiership winning year. “Dyson played a pivitol role in our team. He kicked 30 odd goals in 12 games of Senior football playing as a half forward, including a bag of 9. It was not only his attacking prowess that was giving oppositions headaches. It was his ability to defend and lock the ball in our forward half which made him a much more well rounded player and a very hard match up for any opposition”.
Another pre-season at VFL level followed – this time at the Northern Blues - however a broken jaw in the middle of 2015 put an early end to his season. Despite this setback, his performances on field and attitude off field were enough to see him awarded the Coaches Award for the Blues Development League team.
For the moment Stevens is back training at VFL level with the Northern Blues and aiming to impress during practice matches and push for senior VFL selection in the early part of the season. “I want to keep improving my football and knowledge of the game and a VFL club is the best place to do that”, Stevens said. And if the opportunity arises he is looking forward to donning the maroon and white down at MacPherson Park during 2016.
For Licciardo the possibility of playing alongside Stevens again excites him. But he has also seen similar qualities in some of the young Bloods group as he did when Stevens walked through the doors at Parkside a couple of years ago. “It excites me to see the same raw talent, and hunger to learn in the our young playing list at the Melton Football Club. This will be the key to our success”, he said.