WARRAGUL and Gippsland Power AFL player Josh Patullo has shown a lot of maturity in his determined approach to rehabilitation after an ankle injury kept him off the field for the first half of the 2014 season.
Above: Josh (left) at a Gippsland Power v NSW/ACT Rams game in Morwell earlier this month. Photo by Kate Mitchell.
This article was first published in the 15 August 2014 edition of the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen.
The lanky 197 centimetre boy from Lang Lang turns 17 next month, which gives him another year in Power’s Under 18 TAC Cup squad.
Josh started playing again mid-year, first with the Warragul Under 18s, then in recent weeks back at Power where he has performed well.
After playing junior footy for Lang Lang and Hallora, Josh went to Warragul in 2012, starting with the Under 16s.
Warragul Seniors has recently lost some good players, which has left the team struggling. But Josh feels there is some good talent coming through from the lower ranks.
He believes that if those younger players stay, they will help renew Warragul’s competitiveness at senior level. But he says Warragul will also need to recruit before the team can become a serious premiership prospect.
Like all the young players in the TAC Cup system, Josh is aiming for an AFL career. He played with Power’s under 15s and 16s before being selected to join this year’s under 18 squad, to which he will most likely return next year.
“The pace is quicker at TAC Cup level than in the Gippsland League,” he said.
“The play is quicker and the players hold their positions more. They’re more focused and disciplined.
“There’s a lot more movement and the strength of the opposition teams is a lot more intense.”
Josh very keenly studies professional players like Nick Riewoldt and, as a Sydney fan, Kurt Tippett.
His own game is deep in the forward and sometimes in the ruck.
Gippsland Power coach Leigh Brown described Josh as “a competitor. He really wants to compete.”
“With his injury he’s worked hard at rehab and is diligent at making sure he gets to his appointments. So he’s very organised and driven.
“His marking is a real strength and he can also play in the ruck. He’s athletic and quite mobile.
“He needs to build up his body strength in the next year. A good preseason will set him up well for 2015.”
Power’s talent manager Peter Francis agrees.
“He is a very determined young fellow,” says Peter.
“He worked religiously on his rehab after the ankle injury so he’s done everything he can to get back as quickly as possible.
“I think it’s his athleticism that sets him apart. He can really run around the oval like a ruck rover and he’s got a beautiful set of hands and a good leap.
“He should develop into a real key forward for us.”
Josh is profuse in his admiration and appreciation of Leigh, Peter and the trainers and staff.
“They are all very supportive and helpful,” Josh said.
“I love being with everyone at Power. They are all great people, the staff and the players.”
For more stories by Greg visit greatergippsland.blogspot.com.au.
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