The struggles of Liam
Why? Oh, Why? I, like many other Carlton fans, asked myself when I heard we had recruited Liam Jones from the Western Bulldogs. The 2014 season had passed and Liam Jones was yet to make an impact on the football field. He showed glimpses of talent but it was overshadowed by poor performances and glaring inconsistency in his play. He was labelled as “lazy” and many thought his career would be over in a few seasons after only a handful of games. Then Carlton came knocking. The Blues, struggling with little salary cap room and a need for talent, traded for Jones leaving many puzzled. Jones did little to help his reputation with the Blues dishing out abysmal performances leaving many laughing at the recruiting department. Then, entering his last year of contract, and what many thought his last chance to succeed, Brendan Bolton had a masterstroke.
The turnaround in defence
He saw Jones’ ability to read the play and his above average leaping and contested marking ability and decided to give him a run in the backline. What did he have to lose? Quietly but quickly, Jones started making a name for himself down back. Newspapers featured L. Jones frequently in the best for the Blues reserves side. Soon, people started to take notice of his performances. A stunning performance against the Saints reserves side Sandringham saw a boost in the young Blues popularity. Playing on a recently dropped Josh Bruce, Jones starred racking up 30 disposals in a best on ground effort. Then came the call many didn’t expect would come, including Jones himself. He was named for the Blues against GWS. Not an easy return, given the Giants were the ladder leaders at the time. For the first time in his career Jones truly felt pressure to perform. And he did not disappoint.
Transformed key defender
Jones had 14 disposals, 8 marks and 3 tackles as the Blues caused a massive upset by 1 point. But his biggest task yet was to come the next week as he took on a red hot Tom Lynch. Jones did the unthinkable, holding Lynch goalless for the whole game and restricting him to just 10 touches and 1 mark, whilst picking up 8 of his own. Jones has continued to perform throughout the season and was again one of the Blues best on the weekend, amassing 8 marks and 14 touches. Jones is now averaging 5 marks, 11 disposals and nearly 2 contested marks from his 9 games so far. He has repaid the faith shown by the Blues by inking a new 2 year deal and along with the other young talented Blues defenders will hope to build a strong partnership in the young side as it continues to rebuild.
Whilst the road back has not been easy or without hiccups for Jones, he now finds himself a key player and one of the league’s most in form defenders. The Blues’ fans will hope he brings this rich vein of form and confidence back with him in 2018.
What do you think led to a drastic turnaround in Liam Jones’ form? Was it good coaching, or drive, or an awareness that it was his last chance? Share your thoughts below.
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