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Suns' new ball-magnet learns the value of defensive pressure

Brayden Fiorini (left) boxes on with fellow Sun Josh Schoenfeld - ${keywords}
Brayden Fiorini (left) boxes on with fellow Sun Josh Schoenfeld
It's not about disposals, but learning and embracing the moment
Brayden Fiorini

AFTER a summer of working on his defensive pressure, Gold Coast draftee Brayden Fiorini will be unleashed for the first time against West Coast on Thursday night. 

Fiorini was taken with pick No.20 in last year's NAB AFL Draft after an outstanding TAC Cup season with the Northern Knights, where the midfielder averaged 30 disposals a match.

The 18-year-old knows how to find the ball – both inside and outside – but the Suns have had a different focus for him since he arrived at Metricon Stadium three months ago.

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"Defensive pressure has been drummed into me since I got to the club," Fiorini told AFL.com.au.

"Playing in TAC Cup, I think that was a weakness, pressure and tackling, but coming into the AFL system you have to run both ways, so I've been working on my defensive transition.

"I feel I've improved and hopefully I play well in that area." 

Aside from coach Rodney Eade doing the teaching, the 18-year-old has been exposed to one of the greats of all time, with Suns skipper Gary Ablett giving him a hand. 

Fiorini said Ablett and fellow midfielders Jesse Lonergan and Mitch Hallahan had not only helped him work on his craft, but also "pulled me up at training for things I haven't done well".

Against the Eagles, Fiorini gets a chance to implement his off-season work in a young Suns team missing most of its leaders. 

He will play half a game.

"I'll give it my all and try and get into the game, get a kick or defensive pressure and try to not get found out," he said.

"It's not about disposals, but learning and embracing the moment. It's my first senior game so it'll be a good experience." 

After adjusting to the hot and humid conditions on the Gold Coast, Fiorini said he had settled in nicely during his first pre-season.

"Just getting to know everyone was a bit daunting, living away from home at 18 years of age, not knowing what was what, but you quickly get into it, join the main group after the first week and feel part of it," he said. 

"After Christmas I've felt at home for sure.

"I've learnt something every training session and can't wait for the opportunity against the Eagles."