Wodonga’s Harry Jones has experienced a roller-coaster of emotions in the past week.
He became the fourth Murray Bushrangers’ product to be picked up by an AFL club during the draft period, chosen by Hawthorn with pick seven in the rookie draft.
Jones agonisingly sat through last week’s national draft where he was overlooked, but was over the moon to get an opportunity at the Hawks on Monday.
The best contested ball player in the TAC Cup in the first eight weeks, Jones’ season was cut short by a back problem which threatened to harm his chances.
Thankfully for Jones, he’d done enough.
“I sort of knew they were interested, but I didn’t know they were going to take me,” Jones said.
“I’d met with them a couple of times and got to meet (Alistair) Clarkson at the combine which was good.
“Towards the end of the national draft it got harder and harder to watch, but I went pretty early in the rookie draft so I didn’t have to wait too long.
“I was always more likely to be a rookie draft prospect because I only played nine games due to injury.”
Jones, the cousin of Melbourne ruckman Mitch King, is delighted to be staying in Victoria to follow his dream, but revealed there was a moment of confusion when his name was called.
“I was watching the rookie draft on the website and it actually came up with the wrong symbol and said I was going to Freo (Fremantle),” Jones laughed.
“I was still very excited, but I thought it surely couldn’t have been Freo because I never had a meeting with them and they had never shown any interest.
“I doubled checked it and it changed to Hawthorn, but it was pretty weird.”
Jones’ initial goal is to earn the respect of the playing group and learn as much as he can from them.
“Hopefully I can build up to end of the year or the coming seasons to be playing plenty of good AFL footy,” he said.
“I want to bring some grunt and some energy around the club, as well as a really rigorous attack and work rate at training that ends up in me being an inside midfielder.”
Jones made the move to Melbourne on Tuesday and commences training Wednesday morning.
He joins former Murray Bushrangers teammates James Cousins and Harry Morrison at the club who were both drafted last year.
Albury’s Charlie Spargo was taken by Melbourne, while North Albury duo Ben Paton and Doulton Langlands will call St Kilda home next season.