Lifelong Essendon supporter Harry Jones says he is realising “a childhood dream” in becoming a Bomber after being selected with pick 30 in Thursday’s NAB AFL Draft.
The Bombers were active in pursuing Jones, trading up the draft order to take the athletic key forward, and the young gun could not have been happier to join the club.
“I think it was a bit of relief actually. Obviously I was ecstatic that I’m coming to the Bombers,” Jones said on Thursday.
“It’s a childhood dream to come and play at the Bombers and here it is, I’ve got my opportunity.”
Jones was one of a handful of draft hopefuls in attendance with their families at Marvel Stadium on Thursday. And while he was thrilled to don the sash, he wasn’t given much of an early indication of his eventual destination.
“(I had) a couple of interviews throughout the year and at the combine, but apart from that there wasn’t really much that I knew about getting picked (by Essendon), but I’m very grateful.
“It’s a bit of a relief having (my family) here. They’ve been on the journey all the way through and helped me through, so being here tonight tops it all off.”
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A hard-running goalkicker with a brilliant pair of hands, Jones said he is excited by the prospect of joining new teammates Jake Stringer, Joe Daniher and Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti in the forward line.
He impressed at the 2019 NAB AFL Under-18 Championships, averaging 9.2 disposals, 3.2 marks and a goal a match in his four games to add to a strong NAB League season with the Calder Cannons.
Asked to describe his game, Jones highlighted his aerobic capacity and marking as key strengths.
“I work a lot up the field and use my running ability – I think I’m a pretty good runner – so I use that a lot to get the ball.
“I can take a big mark and I think I’ve got pretty good skills.”
Soon after taking Jones, the Bombers swept up promising ruckman Nick Bryan with selection 38.
The pair of draftees were teammates at the state championships and Jones is looking forward to reuniting with the Oakleigh Charger.
“I met him when I first got added to the Vic Metro team and I played against him when I was bottom age at the Cannons in the ruck,” he said.
“We were pretty good mates and then towards the end of the year we got a bit close, so now I think we’ll become very close mates, which is really good.”
The duo, alongside fellow national draftees Ned Cahill and Lachlan Johnson and rookie draftee Mitch Hibberd, will officially join the pre-season at The Hangar on Monday.