AFL draft: Jones a big part of the familyphotos, video

AFL draft: Jones a big part of the family | photos, video GRATEFUL: Portland footballer Jamaine Jones is thankful for the Lovett family’s support after they took him in as a 10-year-old. Picture: Rob Gunstone
Nanjing Night Net

FAMILY FIRST: Heywood-based teenager Jamaine Jones has lived with Sue Lovett, whom he calls mum, and her family since he was 10. He is pictured with his Standing Tall mentor Andrew Eade, Theo, 7, Marli, Aaron, Sue Lovett, Kiah, Ruby-Jenna,3, and Sahara, 5. Picture: Rob Gunstone

FIERCE: North Ballarat Rebels-listed forward Jamaine Jones rates his tackling and pressure among his best traits. Picture: The Courier

DETERMINED: Portland footballer Jamaine Jones is thankful for the Lovett family’s support after they took him in as a 10-year-old. Picture: Rob Gunstone

SCOREBOARD PRESSURE: Heywood-based teenager Jamaine Jones provided TAC Cup club North Ballarat Rebels with a creative forward option in 2016. Picture: The Courier

PICK OF THE BUNCH: Jamaine Jones was named Hampden league’s best in its senior interleague match against Ovens and Murray in May. Picture: Amy Paton

NEW COLOURS: Heywood premiership player Jamaine Jones joined Hampden league club Portland in 2016. He played one game for the Tigers – earning best-on-ground honours – in between TAC Cup commitments with North Ballarat Rebels. Picture: Amy Paton

TweetFacebookPortland-listed footballer Jamaine Jones talks about his football journeyLovett is Jones’ biggest fan and critic rolled into one.

She watched from the sidelines as he starred for the Lions in their 2014 South West District grand final win over Tyrendarra, earning best-on-ground honours.

A workmate from Ambulance Victoria came over to speak to Lovett during the clash.

“I said ‘I’m watching myboy’ and he goes ‘what number’ and he guessed it,” she said.

“He goes ‘best on ground for sure’ and I go ‘you reckon?’ because I am his biggest critic probably.

“His tackles are just unreal. He is a brilliant footballer, there’s no doubt.

“He’s pretty versatile. You can put him anywhere and he’ll do the job that he’s given.”

Jones can remember the first time he played football.

He lined up for Geelong league junior outfit Belmont after moving in with the Lovetts.

“I didn’t know a thing about it, played my first game and loved it,” Jones said.

“My first goal. I stuck my arm out, the sun was out and I couldn’t even see anything and the ball landed there, I marked it, turned around and snapped it. That was a pretty good day.”

Peopleboth from inside and outside the football bubblehave played major roles in Jones’ development.

He thrived at the smaller Heywood school after starting his secondary education at Oberon College.

The North Ballarat, Heywood and Portland football clubs –he joined the latter for the 2016 season in a bid to play in a stronger competition –have also had a positive impact.

As has his Standing Tall mentor, Portland man Andrew Eade.

Eade first met Jones when he was 15 and was meant to spend one hour a week with the teenager.

Those visits have expanded to include day-long trips each Tuesday to hang out.

“A lot of people said‘you should send him to St Pat’s (College in Ballarat)’ and I said‘no, I’m not sending him away,” Lovett said.

“One, I didn’t want him to have any insecurities and think I didn’t want him here. That’s the worst thingyou can do in out of home care, is send them somewhere else.

“Boarding school, educationally, I think would have been too hard for him. Here it’s a smaller school and they built a program around him which suited him, so he could have his footy days off.

“The school’s been so supportive. We wouldn’t have got that in Geelong with such a big school with over 1000 kids. There is no way they would have been able to do what Heywood’s done.”

Jones would train with either the Lions or Tigers on Tuesday nights this season before driving the 236 kilometres to Ballarat for training on Thursdays.

The commitment paid off. He earned senior interleague selection in May, booting three goals in a Hampden league best-on-ground display against Ovens and Murray, and played in the AFL young guns match after the regular season. And he was one of the first picked forthe Rebels’ best 22.

The zippy left-foot small forward –he ran a three-second20-metre sprint at the AFL state combine –was also rewarded with midfield time.

Jones credits his adoptive brother Stephenfor helping him become a more rounded footballer.

Lovett agrees. And again it’s that sense of family which prevails.

“You can always tell when Stephen’s gone out and spoken to him, because he’ll just come out and kill it,” she said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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