IT’S QUITE fitting that this interview with Alex Cincotta took place in the old VFL changerooms at IKON Park.
It was at the end of 2020 when Cincotta, coming off an ACL injury, was part of the first meeting for the Carlton Reserves. Some three years later, he had 19 senior AFL games under his belt, including three finals.
It was in stark contrast to someone who admitted that that initial meeting was spent “thinking about when I was going to play again”.
“It brings back memories, for sure. I haven’t been here for a while,” Cincotta said.
“[Three years] later . . . I love this football club. It’s amazing.
“A dream come true, a season I’ll never forget. I’ve really enjoyed it. In saying that, I’ve worked very hard and the boys have worked very hard this year, but we’ve had a lot of fun.”
Cincotta could hardly comprehend the situation he found himself in, and that was fairly consistent with how Carlton supporters felt about the Blue season.
How did we get here?
Let’s start at the start. Cincotta became a Blue back in February as the final player on the AFL list as a supplemental selection period signing.
He wasn’t sure how things were going to go. He even thought his time may have been up before it even began.
“I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. I remember we were three days over from when they said they were going to tell me: they pushed it back a little bit and I was stressing out,” he said.
“I wasn’t really sure what was going to happen, if they were going to bring me in and say ‘Sorry mate, we’re not going to draft you, but thanks for your time’. I really didn’t want to go back to work — I’d already fallen in love with being a player and a full-time athlete.
“I said at the time to my family that whatever happens today, know I’ve given everything I have.
“Some important people started to arrive in the kicking room. I didn’t know who [the media team] was, but there were cameras up top, Tarah [Kavanagh] our psych came in and then all of a sudden everyone had come into the room, ‘Vossy’ and ‘Lloydy’ were there. I just couldn’t believe it.”
It may have been chapter one of Cincotta’s AFL story, but there was a fair prelude to get to this point.
Now hoping for a bit more of a traditional pathway in his football career, Cincotta will continue to embrace the ‘never-say-never’ attitude which has defined his journey to the elite level of the sport.
“When our season ended, I was pretty disappointed because we were living in a bit of a rollercoaster. I was riding it, enjoying every second and trying to live in the moment.
“I feel like I’ve got a lot of layers I can add to my game, and pre-seasons are very important to do that. To be able to do a full pre-season is going to be huge for me and my development.
“I can’t wait to get more exposure to footy, that’s the biggest area for me in my development — having that time to get the footy stuff into me. It’s very different between VFL and AFL, so to be able to do it full-time will be really important for me.”