At the start of last season, Josh Covelli was playing reserves for Moonee Valley in Essendon District Football League division 2.

Once he got his chance in the seniors, he found his groove in front of goal.

But he made the surprise decision to move to a struggling Burnside Heights unit in the off season.

The move has seen his game go to another level – he has kicked 54 goals, and is only behind former AFL player Cameron Cloke.

That tally places him among the top goalkickers in senior competitions in metro Melbourne this year.

Covelli has backed his belief he could compete at a senior level, so the rise of the former backman isn’t a complete surprise.

“I played full-back until under-16s,” he said. “I started playing forward with school footy.

“Last season I started playing well in the reserves and I got given a good opportunity from the coaches to play senior football.”

The decision to move to the Bears was surprising, but not one he regrets.

“Where I was working, I got talking to the postman who would come in,” he said.

“We started to get along really well. He’s the father of a player at Burnside and he told me things were looking up at the club.

“I came down to the club to have a look and fell in love with the place. I’d played most of my juniors at Moonee Valley … it’s always good to have a new challenge.

“I’ve fallen in love with the club and can’t see myself going elsewhere.”

The move to the Bears has meant a couple of different challenges for Covelli.

He’s the face of a club that is on the rise and he’s taken on more of a leadership role as the players develop.

“I’d never been in the leadership group,” he said.

“I used to always rock up just before the game and leave straight after and not take any responsibility. It’s good to have that extra responsibility and help the younger players.”

The Bears have already won two more games than they did last season and Covelli is excited by what they can do in the future.

“I get the easy job finishing off all the hard work done by the others,” he said.

“I don’t kick goals if the others don’t get the ball down to me. The coach [Aidan Stott] has got the forward line working really well.

“The president has put together a really good group.”