THE HARD TAG: Vincent Adduci

New to brown and gold in 2017, former Oakleigh Chargers flyer Vincent Adduci has been one to watch this season.

His high energy, all-action offence means he has an important role to play in both the Development and Senior sides’ quest for premiership glory and he’s resolved to take his chance whenever – and for whichever team – it comes.

Known for having a laugh, and with a smile never far from his face, a season of growth an opportunity hasn’t been without its setbacks. Adduci sat down with me to chat footy, films, nicknames and what to say to Luke Hodge if you ever play alongside him.

Sean Peter-Budge: Let’s talk about 2017. Your first year. How do you think you’ve gone?

Vincent Adduci: I thought I started alright in the pre-season, it was a bit daunting to come down, but the boys really got around me, I trained hard and tried to put myself up for selection.

I was lucky enough to play a few practice games, which was a really good experience – I got to play with Luke Hodge, and that was such a good experience, it was the coolest thing – and after that I was lucky enough to play the first two games of the year (against Footscray and Coburg).

I was really happy to play round one against the Bulldogs, and it was such a massive eye-opener to, you know, VFL footy and it showed me what you’ll have to do to make the AFL.

SPB: Good exposure?

VA: It was, but mainly a massive eye-opener. The VFL is so hard, so imagine how hard the AFL would be.

SPB: I had a chat to Connor O’Sullivan after last Sunday (the loss to Port Melbourne). It was his first senior match of the year, and he said the biggest thing you notice is the size of the bodies out there and the pace of the game.

VA: Yeah, massive bodies and the speed of the game is ridiculous, it’s just up and down football.

I find that Development League footy is more physical, and my body is sorer after games, but in Seniors you have to do so much running, and I’ve found I’m getting a few soft tissue injuries in my calf – I’ve never really run that much before.

SPB: With the Footscray game, the siren sounds, the match starts… how long until you feel comfortable with the physicality and the pace of it out there?

VA: As soon as I ran on – I didn’t really touch the ball that much – but even trying to put pressure on, I felt how much of a step up it was from any level I’d played at prior – TAC Cup, school footy – so you have to be really on your game from the word go.

It was probably in my second game against Coburg, when I started to get my hands on the ball a bit more that I was like, ‘wow, this is really hard.’

SPB: Two very different styles of footy, too, those games. Against Coburg the team started brilliantly and were eleven goals up at quarter time, whereas the Footscray game was super tight all day.

VA: Absolutely, as 23rd man in both of those games it was good for me when the Coburg [match] opened up. They threw me on a bit more and because of that I felt more comfortable out there.

Unfortunately after that I hurt my calf, missed two weeks and had to come back through Development to get another chance. I was lucky there were a couple injuries, I came back in and played a solid stint of VFL footy.

SPB: what’s been the personal highlight – in terms of a performance or result?

VA: Confidence is such a big thing with me and the coaches backing me in over the period when I was playing consistent senior footy was great.

And forming good relationships. For example, I’ve got a really good relationship with big Maxy (midfield coach Max Bailey), he’s been great for me. If I’ve got any issues or questions I shoot him a message and he’s always there to help out.

SPB: What about your path to Box Hill, how’d you end up in the brown and gold?

VA: I got a call from Chris (Monaghan, recruiting and list manager), he said I should come down and try out. I didn’t expect to make the list, I just come down, tried out, worked really hard and got my opportunity.

SPB: You’ve missed the last couple at senior level, returning via the Development League last weekend against Port – was that just a numbers thing with a few Hawthorn boys – Jaeger O’Meara, Paul Puopolo, Kieren Lovell et al – returning, or management?

VA: I was meant to play the Geelong game, but the night before I wasn’t confident enough in my calf, so I pulled out.

I thought I might’ve been a chance to return against Essendon, but all those boys coming back meant I was a little unlucky.

SPB: Those players returning and the Development bye came at an inconvenient time, didn’t they, was it frustrating to miss footy so close to finals?

VA: It wasn’t frustrating missing the game so much, probably my body is what annoyed me. I’ve always had issues getting injured and I thought my luck had turned, but then I feel the calf and miss because of it.

SPB: How have you enjoyed the season? You’ve played nine games, is that more than you expected?

VA: heaps more, heaps more. It’s been so cool, playing against some big AFL names.

SPB: anyone in particular stand out? Is there anyone you’ve come across and thought, ‘oh wow’?

VA: Goldstein, Lindsay Thomas, that was cool. Even playing against some of my mates that were drafted, like Ed Phillips at Sandy and Pat Kerr, who’s a good mate of mine, at Carlton, that was really cool.

It was so amazing with Hodgey, too, just the amount he talks.

SPB: Did you say anything to him? ‘Hello’?

VA: (laughs) yeah, I said hello, he was a bit intimidating, but he was a really nice bloke.

SPB: You touched on your debut earlier. Do you remember your stats? I ask because it makes an interesting point about modern footy.

VA: I think I had two disposals and… four tackles?

SPB: Yeah, two touches, but I remember watching and thinking you’d played a really good game. Lots of pressure, not a heap of stats, but great effort, work rate etc.

VA: I’m finding that when you do those pressure acts – blocks, bumpers – it repays you later on. If you put the work in the ball will come your way.

I’ve got to always make sure I’m manic, always chasing, even if I don’t tackle him just be there.

SPB: It means that next time they have it they know you’re not going away, that you’ll be there.

VA: yeah, just make sure you’re always there, always involved. And when I’m doing that I feel more confident when the coaches tell me to hunt the ball.

SPB: What’s the biggest or most important thing you’ve learnt about footy since you’ve come to the club?

VA: Preparation, really, and that you have to work hard, that talent alone isn’t going to get you where you want to go.

This year I’ve had to work really hard and next year I’ll have to work harder again; get into the gym, eat right, prepare and get my body right to play the highest level footy I can.

I always try to get tips from AFL boys, those that have played and the coaches to  better myself.

SPB: It feels like the link between the Box Hill and Hawthorn guys is amazing this year. How do you see it?

VA: for sure, it’s great. One of my good mates from school, Olly Hanrahan, I’ve known since year four, so to play alongside him was great. They’re all ripper blokes, all so welcoming and really nice.

SPB: does that good relationship make game day easier?

VA: heaps easier. They have more confidence in you, they’re not worried about giving you the ball.

SPB: Is there anyone, whether it be an AFL or VFL teammate, who you’ve followed closely or use as a mentor?

VA: David Mirra. I get along really well with him, and to see how hard to trains and works, he’s a really smart footballer, so I watch him and try to emulate what he does.

SPB: You’ve spent an equal amount of time in the Senior and Development squads this year, working under both Chris Newman and Andrew Shakespeare, what are their strengths as a coach? We’ll start with ‘Newy.’

VA: They’re two different people. ‘Newy’ is really good at uniting the team, he really motivates you and makes you really hungry to play. He’s such a smart coach, so calm and so open, you can go to him for a chat.

SPB: and Shakey?

VA: He’s a good coach, always really good with the strategy side of things. He lets you play your own role and and has faith in the side playing to their strengths.

SPB: Can it be difficult transitioning between Development and Senior footy? At Development level you seem to have a little more freedom, whereas at Senior level you’re a little more role-based? Is that fair?

VA: um, nah, I find at Senior level I have a little more freedom. There’s not as much pressure, everything goes out of my mind and I can play my game.

Because my asset is speed, I find the VFL game suits me a little better. I can use my leg speed to turn back to goal, whereas Development is a little more in-and-under, bigger bodies, which I do like, but yeah.

SPB: Do you have any weird pre-game rituals? Any little superstitions?

VA: I’ve got my favourite jocks that I always wear – I’m wearing them right now (laughs).

SPB: That’s good to know, do any of the boys have any habits?

VA: (laughs) I don’t really notice much of that stuff prior to the game, I sort of get into the zone trying to focus – actually, before I run out always kiss my boots. Like, I kiss my hands and touch my boots.

SPB: you kiss your hands and tap your boots? When did you start doing that?

VA: yeah, I’ve done it since I was young.

SPB: Did you get that from anything or anyone?

VA: The movie ‘Like Mike,’ (laughs) he did it in that, you seen it?

SPB: Good movie

VA: So good. So I copied that, and find it gets me motivated for the game.

SPB: Do you have a nickname, or do we just roll with “Dooch.”

VA: Yeah, the coaches think I’m Mexican (laughs), so they call me ‘El Ducè’ or ‘the Mexican.’ Thats it at the moment.

SPB: (laughs) I think that might be because of the beard.

VA: (laughs) yeah, it’s funny.

SPB: What about, this is one thing I’ve noticed about you, do you reckon anyone on the list has better hair than you do?

VA: (laughs), oh…

SPB: Including Newy

VA: yeah, he’s got a good mop!

SPB: Do you reckon you’ve got everyone covered? Murph’s (Billy Murphy) got a lot of hair…

VA: I’d love to have that hair, he does have a lot of it, but I’ll back my hair in.

SPB: What was the last movie saw?

VA: I’ve watched a heap of James Bond recently, I love it, he’s grouse.

SPB: Do you like new or old James Bond? I don’t really like new Bond.

VA: yeah, yeah, I like the old ones, I don’t mind the new ones though, they’re a different take on it.

SPB: I reckon we get a good one and then a bad one with Bond films.

VA: What was the last one, ‘SPECTRE’? Did you not like that one?

SPB: Not really, didn’t go for it. I loved ‘Skyfall’ and loved…

VA: I didn’t like ‘Casino Royale’

SPB: Oh, really? I liked that one. My favourite is Connery.

VA: Same, he’s so good. Wasn’t there an Australian, but he only did one film?

SPB: Yeah, George Lazenby. It wasn’t a bad movie.

VA: I’ve never seen that one, I might have to watch it.

SPB: What was the last movie you saw at the cinema?

VA: Dunkirk.

SPB: Thoughts?

VA: I really liked it – do you reckon the pilot, Tom Hardy, do you think he’s the guy on the boat’s son? Because he knows a lot about the planes, whats going on etc

SPB: yeah, yeah, I love the theory… I don’t know if it’s the case, but I like the idea that he thinks his son is dead, but he’s actually alive and a POW.

VA: yeah, because thats right at the start of the war.

SPB: What’s the last album you bought?

VA: (laughs) … I don’t know-

SPB: Ok, whats the last album you downloaded?

VA: I don’t even do that! I just Spotify.

SPB: Who organises the pre-game playlist?

VA: I think it’s ‘Fish.’ He’s got his own Soundcloud, everyone gets around it, it’s pretty good. I don’t know the name of the song, the one we run out to…

SPB: the Kanye one (‘Black Skinhead’)?

VA: yeah, it’s really good, it gets me pumped.

SPB: I’m just standing there and it gets me pumped up! Are you into any other sports outside of footy?

VA: I’m loving the basketball at the moment, over the last few years I’ve gotten really into the NBA.

SPB: It’s blown up, hasn’t it.

VA: It’s grown massively. I love all this trade stuff, it’s crazy, it’s always on my feed.

SPB: For a long time it was EPL, wasn’t it, and it’s still super popular, but I definitely feel as though the NBA is so much more visible now than it has been.

VA: For sure, maybe its because a lot more Aussies are getting drafted.

SPB: Who’s the biggest pest?

VA: At the Club? Tom Maloney.

SPB: Tom Maloney?

VA: Yeah, Tom Maloney, Harrison Burt… they’re just pests. They’re top blokes and two of my closest mates at the club, but they’re pests.

SPB: What about TV, you binging anything? The big one for a lot of people now is Game of Thrones.

VA: I’ve never watched that one.

SPB: Same!

VA: I haven’t seen a episode, it’s probably good, but I’ve got no interest in it.

SPB: I feel like I’m too far behind now

VA: How many seasons?

SPB: They’re up to seven.

VA: Yeah, I feel you. I don’t think many of my mates watch it, maybe thats why I’ve missed it.

SPB: What do you watch?

VA: I didn’t mind Prison Break, I’ve finished that, the new season of that came out this year. It was really good.

SPB: They back in prison?

VA: Yeah, they just keep going back in. In the fourth season the main guy dies, but he’s not dead! (Laughs), he’s in another prison. Its really twisted.

SPB: How’d he end up back in prison?

VA: To allow his family to be free, he links up with his bad guy, fakes his death and has to help him break terrorists out of prisons.

SPB: Sound like all those Fast and the Furious films, where if you need anything done with cars, they’re your guys.

VA: Totally, you use those people. So he’s used if you need to get out of prisons, but he’s only doing it because he wants to go back to his wife sort of thing. This season he was in the worst prison ever, in Iraq or something.

SPB: Why isn’t he in a better cell?

VA: I don’t know, he always gets out!

SPB: Lastly, some word association.


SPB: David Mirra.

VA: So many things come to mind. Strong, loyal, smart, honest, top bloke, a legend.

SPB: Chris Newman.

VA: Nice, honest, down to earth, knowledgeable, good role model – use that one for Mirra too, good role model!

SPB: Box Hill Footy Club

VA: Unity, respect.

SPB: AFL footy.

VA: In what sort of way?

SPB: Your choice.

VA: The dream.

SPB: This Sunday.

VA: (laughs) hopefully playing seniors! But no matter where I play, just hard work.

SPB: Now, these two in particular seem like pests: Billy Murphy and Xavier Dimasi.

VA: yeah, they’re pests, so funny, but legends. Super nice guys.

SPB: September.

VA: Opportunity, hard work… those are the two things that come to mind.

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