Twelve months is a long time in football. Just ask the Calder Cannons’ Harrison Jones.
This time last year, the 18-year-old wasn’t on the draft radar, let alone sure that football was the sport that he wanted to concentrate on.
Fast forward to the end of the 2019 season, Jones’ name is among those spoken about as a draft pick, with a sneaky chance of being a first round pick this week.
Jones said he never imagined that he would find himself in this position.
“I was playing cricket with school and focusing on cricket,” he said.
“I wasn’t playing practice matches for the Cannons. I was pretty good at both sports, but not outstanding at either.
“I never thought it would come this far. Once I got the first game under my belt at nationals, I thought this was it. Footy started to take over.”
After missing the practice matches, Jones was quickly combining Cannons commitments and school footy.
Jones played eight matches with the Cannons and admits he didn’t set the world on fire.
“I really enjoyed my year, but I didn’t get to play a lot of games with school and metro,” he said.
“The team gelled really well, [but] overall my performance was pretty poor.”
It was school football at PEGS where Jones started to show what he can do.
He was added to the Vic Metro squad early in the year.
He would later make the final squad and play all four games and be one of Vic Metro’s better players at nationals.
He said his performance was “OK”.
“Metro was a big shock and I’m proud of myself,” he said.
“I didn’t expect it.
“I showed promising signs, but I couldn’t piece it all together for a whole game. I really enjoyed it and got shown what it takes to play against the best in the country.”
Jones said the biggest thing he took from the championships was that he needed to work on his consistency.
With the mindset of wanting to be drafted, the tall forward ticked another box, being invited to the AFL national combine.
He was one of the best performers at the combine, reaching a 21.4 in the yo-yo test, while completing the two kilometre time trial in 6.32 minutes.
Jones said he set himself a couple of goals at the combine which he achieves.
Jones said he moulds his game on Jack Gunston and Jack Reiwoldt, with their running and ability to take strong marks – something he sees as strengths in his game.
It’s been a busy time for the Gisborne resident since the combine, as he finished year 12 exams.
He spent a few days away last week in Echuca with mates.
“Exams finished up last Friday [two weeks ago], so I’ve been done for awhile. I’ve been catching up with mates and I had my wisdom teeth out.”
Jones, who is an Essendon supporter, said he will watch the draft at home and is excited to see what happens.
He said he was hoping someone would take a risk on him.
“I’m a bit nervous, as I’m not sure what is going to happen.
“Hopefully I get picked up, I’m not too fussed where I go. I’m happy to go anywhere.
“There’s been a lot of positive signs coming from me. Hopefully a full pre-season under my belt and time in the gym, I can start to show my potential.”