Between the ages of 14 and 17 Castagna improved that velocity in working classes with dash coach Craig Mair, having beforehand constructed his stamina when he joined his dad for runs up the steep hills close to the household dwelling in Kangaroo Floor.
“We might be nearer to strolling up it actually, simply lifting your legs up and getting there,” Castagna stated.
With Mair he elevated his tempo sufficient to run in a junior dash at Stawell over Easter.
“It was good enjoyable … he [Mair] was very useful only for my footy usually,” Castagna stated.
“I acquired to him at an age the place you may change your velocity, you may repair up your method and achieve cadence and from there I made my velocity a energy of mine.“
The energy he developed throughout that interval is a part of the explanation Castagna will run on to the MCG this Easter – 9 years after working at Stawell – to play his a hundredth sport, the rookie choice now a three-time premiership participant.
The way in which he performs symbolises, to some extent, the chaotic, manic type that has helped Richmond dominate the competitors for 4 seasons now.
However alongside the best way he has change into a greater participant too, extra revered throughout the competitors for the harm he can do in offence and defence. And there may be additionally a recognition that the best way he performs has additionally helped create the unstoppable mess.
Last Sunday against Hawthorn he kicked a set snap shot on his non-preferred foot, replicating the deeds of one other triple premiership participant Luke Breust, a participant famend for his silky abilities.
Now, when Castagna bursts out the entrance of the stoppage within the expectation of the ball heading his approach he disrupts the opposition, all of a sudden making the sport all legs and arms and bouncing footballs.
This fits the Tigers, who adore it when their matches change into akin to a pinball machine in multiball mode.
“I do have a little bit of a chaotic sport type,” Castagna stated.
‘He [Damien Hardwick] typically doesn’t know what’s going to occur however he encourages me to maintain doing what I do.’
“I crash in and trigger a little bit of chaos on offence and defence I assume. ‘Dimma’ (Richmond coach Damien Hardwick) at all times makes a gag about once I get the ball he typically doesn’t know what’s going to occur however he encourages me to maintain doing what I do.
“He helps me to play to my strengths and it has held me in fairly good stead.
“I mess up a kick right here and there but when I keep within the contest I often could make one thing out of it.”
That he does, pressuring the opposition and chiming in for targets when required, having averaged two scores a match in his previous 94 video games, his inaccuracy within the 2019 grand last, when he kicked 5 behinds, ruling him out of Norm Smith competition.
All that has made Castagna a well-liked determine inside and out of doors the fence at Tigerland, one one who finds that being hungry and humble comes naturally.
“I undoubtedly have factors the place I pinch myself. It’s fairly loopy to have had this a lot success so early however I’m simply so joyful to be right here and I’m having a lot enjoyable,” Castagna stated.
“You by no means know the way lengthy it may possibly final so I’m simply having fun with it whereas it’s right here and take advantage of out of it whereas I can.“
He laughs on the concept he would possibly be part of his siblings working at Castagna Steelworks, the household enterprise his grandfather Vic began when he emigrated to Australia within the Nineteen Sixties, one of many enterprise’s first contracts being to supply the metal that held the previous seats within the MCG outer of their place.
His dad, mum and three brothers Nick, Aaron and Jarrod all work there whereas his sister Hannah remains to be in school.
His teammate Kamdyn McIntosh realized to weld on the steelworks and infrequently Castagna will drop in to the household enterprise to seek out teammates simply hanging on the market pottering round on one thing.
Castagna likes to try this too, having his home renovated and utilizing McIntosh’s abilities that make him greater than only a useful footballer to construct his shed.
“It’s just about his shed in my yard,” Castagna stated.
It’s the kind of connection these Tigers have soldered since 2017, with Castagna admitting a couple of teammates couldn’t resist utilizing his well-travelled tattoo gun on the Tigers’ hub on the Gold Coast to get a everlasting reminder of their 12 months.
“I’ve achieved a couple of. For those who look intently you would possibly spot a couple of of the boys [with them],” Castagna stated.
What can by no means be erased is the function Castagna has performed in serving to Richmond to 3 flags, one among 14 Tigers to play within the three, and the primary rookie in AFL historical past to play in three inside 100 video games, his shy, steely expression now as a lot a Castagna function as his road-runner gait.
He’s hit 100 video games. He’s acquired a couple of premierships. His legs inform a narrative. And he’s a Richmond man. However in terms of the household Christmas he’s creating the identical quiet mischief he at all times has.
“Nothing a lot has modified for me outdoors of footy,” Castagna stated.
Peter Ryan is a sports activities reporter with The Age masking AFL, horse racing and different sports activities.