THE journey of Heywood’s Jamaine Jones through the Australian Football League will continue into 2021 with the West Coast Eagles retaining the 22-year-old for a second season.
On Thursday morning, West Coast announced four contract renewals for the 2021 AFL season and Jones was one of two players offered a one-year rookie contract extension, the other being Brendon Ah Chee.
Earlier this week the AFL confirmed changes to list sizes for 2021, with clubs now permitted to have a minimum of 37 players and a maximum of 44 players.
Primary lists must be between 36 and 38 players, and rookie list players are divided into two groups, category A (four to six players) and category B (two players).
Uncertainty around the parameters of list sizes has made it difficult for many clubs to re-sign or delist developing and fringe players and Jones was one of many caught up in the crossfire.
Once the AFL confirmed the changes on Monday the Eagles were quick to offer Jones a second year with the club.
West Coast Eagles list manager Darren Glass said the club was delighted with the outcome.
“Unfortunately, because the AFL wasn’t able to confirm list sizes until after the Trade Period we were in a holding pattern with several players and it was an extremely difficult period for them,” Glass said.
“We are really pleased we have now been able to offer Nathan (Vardy), Mark (Hutchings), Brendon (Ah Chee) and Jamaine (Jones) contract extensions.
“Brendon and Jamaine both showed good signs this season playing in attack and will remain on our rookie list for next year.”
Jones’ senior football career began with Heywood during the 2015 South West District Football League season and after stints with Portland (Hampden FNL) and Greater Western Victoria (NAB Cup), the small forward was drafted by Geelong as a part of the 2017 Rookie Draft.
Jones spent two seasons with the Cats and played seven senior games before being delisted in late 2019.
West Coast invited Jones to trial with the playing group in February of this year and with a spot on the list for a small forward made available by the suspension of Willie Rioli, Jones selected as a part of the supplementary selection period.
Jones didn’t have to wait long to impress at West Coast, earning his first senior selection in round four of a heavily coronavirus pandemic impacted season, and lining up to play for a second time in round five.
Disaster then struck and a hamstring strain evolved into a season ending surgery which required surgery, but after recovering well, Jones will now get the chance to impress all over again in 2021.