Jeff White hopes Nathan Jones will be chosen for the Melbourne Demons’ final big push
Former best and fairest Melbourne and All-Australian winner Jeff White says he hopes sentimentality will prevail to allow Nathan Jones a place on the Demons’ team, including as a medical substitute, as the club pushes to end his 57-year drought as prime minister.
Having been captain of the team for six seasons, having won the three best and fairest counts and finished in the top five ten times, Jones, 33, has been only a marginal player in the past two years, playing eight. AFL games in 2020 and eight more this season. He hasn’t taken the field in an AFL game since the seventh round, and his only AFL game since then was in round 15 when he was an unused medical substitute against Essendon.
Jones remains close to the national team mark, however, having been named an emergency for the Dees’ final qualifying win over the Brisbane Lions. James Jordon was the unused medical substitute for that game, with Jones’ veteran teammates Jake Melksham and Michael Hibberd also in emergencies.
Melbourne has a remarkably healthy roster, with seasoned players Mitch Brown, Aaron vandenBerg and Neville Jetta all waiting behind the scenes.
A mainstay for most of the season, Jayden Hunt is also pushing for him to retire after injuring his ankle late in the season.
But none of those players have the pervasive emotional appeal of Jones, who earlier this year became the second player after David Neitz to play 300 VFL / AFL games for Melbourne.
He has also stayed in Washington with his teammates, as his wife Jerri is expecting twins in Victoria.
White, 44, an Australian ruckman in 2004 who played in the Demons’ last grand final in 2000 and alongside Jones early in the midfielder’s career, said Sunday that he would like to see Jones cleared.