Young gun stands out in golden era
At a club that for so long was starved of cup success, Vinnie Paglia is an exception.
The local product has been fortunate enough to arrive in the senior ranks during a golden era.
On Sunday, the 19 year-old will line up in his fourth cup final, the same number of full seasons he’s played at senior level.
And the left-back’s importance to the Savoy line-up continues to grow.
The skilful youngster has formed part of the competition’s best defence with Jake Miles, captain Brenton Cook and Raul Pahina conceding just 19 goals from 22 games this season.
“We have played together for so long, we know how we all play and everyone’s strengths, we feel very solid back there and have a really good relationship, especially with Jayden (Vescio) behind us always talking,” Paglia said.
Co-coach, Vescio, who has watched the youngster evolve into a star from behind the sticks, said Paglia thrived on a challenge.
“When Matt (Park) and I took the job we had this little short 50kg kid that had a lot of potential but probably wasn’t strong enough to play as a winger,” he said.
“We thought we could play him as a wing-back and he has taken some huge scalps along the journey.”
Paglia put his hand up to nullify, former Cobram and now Goulburn Valley Suns star Billy Marshall in last year’s decider and last week did the job on Melrose speedster Adam Waters.
“Anyone that watched that game (last year’s cup final) would say Vinnie towelled Marshall up and he will get another massive job this week whether it is Pete (Noordeweir) or Noah (Spiteri) or even Grovesy (Andrew Grove),” Vescio said.
“At 19 years old he has a chance to win a third cup to go with two leagues, he’s going alright the little fella.”
Paglia said the big brings the best out of him.
“You are always excited for a cup final, it doesn’t matter how many you play in,” he said.
“The big stage is much better, you have people yelling abuse sometimes and a lot going on but I think it makes you play better.
The talented teen also credits Park and Tom Youngs as big contributors to his development.
“Coming from professional backgrounds they bring a lot to me and all the younger guys around the club,” he said.
“Since I moved to right-back or left-back I feel like I contribute a bit more, it’s been my fifth year playing seniors and I think I have learnt a lot and am getting better with experience.”
Paglia is one of just two Myrtleford players to play every game this season. stage