Former Melbourne captain Nathan Jones will line up for his 300th game against Richmond on Saturday night, becoming just the second Dee to achieve the milestone. Jones’ current and former teammates share a series of short stories acknowledging the milestone
Rohan Bail – Former Melbourne teammate
When I first got drafted at 20 years old in 2008, I got to the club and met all the guys. I knew who Jonesy was of course, but thought he was years into his career and much older than me, perhaps because he’s looked the same since he was 16! But, I learned we are born in the same year, which I think gives you a bond, and we connected over common interests such as surfing, running, swimming and a multitude of other pursuits (coffee drinking). It can probably take a while for some to connect with ‘Chunk’, but we clicked straight away.
Early on he may have seemed brash – having grown up with two brothers and fighting for everything to the death probably shaped that competitive or sharp edge. But underneath the exterior, there is a really caring side to Chunk.
This has come to the fore with Jerri by his side, but probably more so since Bobbi and Remy were born.
Jonesy the athlete:
What has really stood out to me, is Jonesy’s ability to get the best out of himself and his body. What many don’t know or see is the countless extras he does to improve or get himself right. In the early part of his career, it was multiple extra private boxing sessions per week which improved his decision-making skills and reflexes. It was also thousands of kilometers ridden on Beach Road on his bike to get miles in his legs. During the middle part of his career, we were put through what some may describe as the most arduous of running regimes, and Jonesy never dropped his chin or complained, he just kept going. With all this training, his body never really broke down, due to intense recovery, diet and preparation to back up over and over again.
In 2015, he played the year with a displaced disc in his neck that required surgery. That would have taken 24/7 care and preparation for a full 6-7 months to back up day after day during the season. Most just wouldn’t play.
Even now, in his 16th season, he has stripped back all his preparation to enable him the best chance to keep going. He has reshaped his diet, sleep and recovery, always looking for a way to improve. He was doing private pilates sessions at night to keep improving his core every week since the 2020 season finished.
I was only there for seven years of his career, and several hundred players and staff have come and gone, but one thing has stayed consistent – his preparation. For any upcoming teenager, it would be advisable to model their professional attitude on Jonesy’s.
I watched on in the 2018 elimination final against Geelong when Jonesy kicked the sealer. Those things don’t just happen. That’s the culmination of years of hard work. Who knows, maybe he’ll kick the sealer this week in his 300th on Anzac Eve.
Jared Rivers – Former Melbourne teammate
Was lucky enough to play alongside Chunk for nearly 10 years and it was an absolute pleasure. First impressions of Nathan was this young kid who lived down Frankston way and knew Travis Johnstone previously which had me a little concerned straight away! He had this sense of confidence about him, but in a good way and was very respectful to all the senior players. This definitely changed as years went on, but what impressed me most was his willingness to learn and train like an absolute machine day in day out.
Nath has always had leadership traits very early on and got the respect of the playing group and coaches very quickly, off the back of working really hard and playing his role within the team.
I personally loved how hard he played against the opposition each week and how good he was in big games as a young player.
It’s an unbelievable achievement and to see him become one of very few to play 300 games for the Melbourne Football Club is a credit to him, his family and his wife Jerri who has supported him all these years.
More importantly we have built a close friendship that will last for many years to come and that is what footy is all about.
Good Luck Chunky boy.
Jeremy Howe – Former Melbourne teammate, current Collingwood defender
My first impressions of Nathan Jones were intimidating, angry, intense, short-fused and held a lot of influence.
I think I was just reading it incorrectly or saw those qualities in a different light. Intimidating was purely the way he would train! Like everything was on the line for that session. He would leave nothing in the tank, repeat five days a week and it was truly intimidating.
Angry – I would replace that with not being satisfied and always looking for better. At no stage did he not want to improve himself as a player. He would get frustrated at times as he has such high standards.
Intense – The way he would approach everything with a very intense focus. Everything has an intent of improvement and focus on how he can get an extra two per cent better.
The words and phrases I would use to describe him now are: loyal, patient, a leader, inspiring, learner, caring and an amazing family man.
Over an unbelievable career to date, I don’t think it’s been recognised enough the player he has become and is.
His evolution as a man and a player has been something quite special to watch.
Well-grounded with his two kids (with twins on the way) and beautiful wife Jerri.
If there is a goal that gets pushed by clubs for the players, it is for them to come out of the end of their careers as better people than they started.
Now Jonesy already started at a great level in that category, but I can comfortably say the man he is today is an even better version than I have ever seen.
I am thankful to have shared the field as a team mate, as a opposition player also over the last 11 years and to say your a great mate.
Enjoy game 300. It’s not just “another game” so soak it up and enjoy every bit of it. Can’t wait to watch ya!
Neville Jetta – Melbourne teammate
These are the words that first pop into my head when thinking of Nathan Jones.
I’m grateful to have played alongside ‘Chunk’ through our time together at the club, his growth year after year has not only transformed his football career but its shaped him to be the person and the family man he is today.
His value and what he has stood for was always clear for everyone to see and even more clear now as most of them are tattooed on his body!
My first memory of him was seeing this big, black Ford Territory with oversized chrome rims come screaming into the Casey Fields carpark and him jumping out with a big smile ready to improve and attack another training session.
Well done on reaching 300 games, brother!
Christian Petracca – Melbourne teammate
Jonesy is the most diligent, professional and hardworking person I’ve met. He’s someone that I’ve looked up to and is always instilling belief and confidence in me. He’s a big believer in being yourself and to keep doing what you’re doing. I’m forever grateful for being able to call Nathan a great teammate and friend.