Former Melbourne captain Nathan Jones has announced his retirement as his team sits on the verge of ending a 57-year AFL premiership drought.
Jones, who raced back to Victoria from Perth for the birth of twins last weekend, after being told he wouldn’t be picked for the Grand Final, told his teammates in an emotional zoom call on Tuesday night.
It brings down the curtain on a stellar 302 game career over 16-years with the Demons which included three club best and fairest awards and six years as captain or co-captain.
“Personally I’ve had a lot of emotions go through my mind from how it‘s all unfolded,” Jones told the Melbourne website.
“From an individual perspective, it’s been disappointing, to say the least, knowing the work I’ve put in. But what I want to stress is that regardless of that I am still filled with the utmost amount of joy, happiness and pride for the position the club is now in,”
“Having spent 16 years at Melbourne, I want to reiterate to my teammates not to take this opportunity for granted. From my experiences, footy is a ruthless game and we shouldn’t take what we’ve built and created this season for granted.
“Over the years, the two things that have driven me to stay committed to this footy club have been firstly, the chance to play in a premiership one day and secondly, to ensure that no young player coming into Melbourne would have the experience I did for many years, I wanted to leave Melbourne Football Club a better place.
Jones played under eight senior coaches throughout his journey with the Demons, and his final leader, Simon Goodwin, said his legacy will last forever.
“One of the hardest things to do as a player is go through cultural change,” Goodwin said to the playing group following Jones’ announcement.
“And we’re talking about a culture that was at rock bottom.
“He’s seen that journey through and he leaves the club today a proud man.”