WEST Coast Eagle Jordan Jones is living the life many young teenagers dream of.
The 19-year-old defender moved from Ocean Grove on the Bellarine Peninsula to another beach town called Hillarys near Perth, Western Australia after the 2008 AFL draft where he was snared at No.52.
The surfy blond said the move to Perth has been made easier by his host parents – but still misses his real parents, father Stuart and mother Joel and younger sister Perri, who Jones describes as a “handy basketballer and netballer too”.
“The club have been great with the transition of moving away from home,” Jones told Football Nation.
“They have set me up with a host family to live with which allows me to ease into living away from home.”
“Perth itself is very similar to Geelong and the surf coast of ocean grove. It’s a laid back lifestyle; the weather is just warmer over here,” he said.
His diet initially became an issue evidently because his host family weren’t football or athlete-literate in terms of his dietary needs.
“My host family don’t follow footy at all,” he said.
“They couldn’t have children so they knew a couple people at the club and decided to become host parents. They are great people and really helping me through an important phase of my life.”
“My diet was an issue when I first got to the club and my hosties don’t have a sporting background or not much knowledge on a healthy diet for a athlete so we all sat down with the dietician and changed a few things…like I’m now cooking dinner a couple of nights a week and know exactly what’s going into it the food… and it’s helped me and certainly helped them too,” he said.
Jones’ first season at the Eagles was a testing one, but one that he described as “the most consistent year than any other year of my footy career so far.”
“I was playing mainly with Peel Thunder in the WAFL (West Australian Football League). It really links into being fitter but that is also the thing I want to improve on most coming into this pre-season fitter than ever and hopefully it gives me the best opportunity to break into the senior side,” he said.
“Andrew Embley and Mark Nicoski have been big influences on my development because they play similar roles to what I will play so I have clinged onto them and followed them around the track running as hard as they do and reading the play like them and even professionally off field with diet and being a perfectionist with preparation for a match,” he said.
Jones holds Embley, a more experienced Eagle, in high regard as he attempts to make his senior AFL debut in 2010.
“I will definitely play backline either back flank or pocket (in seniors) but eventually I want to play like Andrew Embley and be able to run through the midfield, on the wing, up forward and half back as well,” he said.
“Yeah it is a young list (at West Coast). We are a really tight knit bunch of boys (and) all get along and it’s exciting (that) we will be up there in a couple years for sure.”
But Jones admits he still misses the home grown surf at Ocean Grove – saying that he was yet to surf a wave in the west with most of his down time spent playing FIFA or NFL on XBOX.
“Look I do miss home but I am at training everyday at the club, hanging out with mates and living the dream so it keeps my mind off it…but I always love coming home,” he said.
Jones, like his sister Perri, played basketball for Vic Country as a point guard before blossoming as a footballer with the Geelong Falcons.
The Jones family listened intently to the radio to learn of Jones’ draft feat on draft day ’08 from their Ocean Grove home after Adelaide, Sydney and Hawthorn also showed interest.
The flashy rebounding defender was the second Ocean Grove gun of the 2008 draft to secure their AFL dream following pick 14 from the Western Bulldogs Ayce Cordy.
Clint Bartram and Danny Stanley are other former Ocean Grove players in the AFL in recent seasons.
By Brent Diamond