Tag: AFL Draft

Jones pinching himself over draft reality

Article created by nableague.com.au on November 13.

Harrison Jones didn’t expect to even be a 2019 NAB AFL Draft prospect earlier this year, but the Calder Cannons key forward knew everything had changed when he ran onto the MCG in June.

It wasn’t just that the 18-year-old had been catapulted into Vic Metro’s starting forward line for the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships.

It was also because Jones felt almost instantly at home on the biggest stage in Australian football during Metro’s first match of the Championships, booting a goal and leading his Vic Country opponents up and down the ground with strong running for a 194cm target.

Having made his NAB League debut and played seven games for Calder in the back half of his bottom-age 2018 season, the Gisborne Rookies (Riddell District FL) product showed even more exciting glimpses in 2019.

Jones averaged 12 disposals, three marks and five hitouts per game in eight matches for the Cannons and saved some of his best form for the national-level Championships, announcing himself to AFL recruiters as a big-game player ahead of November 27-28’s draft.

“I didn’t even see myself getting drafted at the start of this year; I wasn’t really expecting any of this to happen,” Jones said at the recent NAB AFL Draft Combine, where he finished among the top five NAB League players for both the 20m sprint and the endurance-based Yo-Yo Test.

“I was thinking it’d just be a big year at school and that I’d hopefully play a couple of games for the Cannons, but I never expected to play four games for Metro and have my footy take off as it has.

“We got beaten (in the opening Championships match), but I thought to myself afterwards: ‘That was awesome. I really want to get drafted now, to play at the MCG again.’ That was probably the moment for me.

“I don’t think I’m arrogant, but I do like playing in big games and competitive games. I thrive off that and try to play the best I can.”

Much of Jones’ appeal to AFL clubs likely lies in the upside to his game should he become part of an elite-level environment. While his remarkable athletic traits for a tall player have stood out in patches, Jones came into his top-age year still balancing the demands of football with playing cricket.

That clash of priorities as well as some late-season injury niggles meant his body didn’t allow him to find top form as Calder won two NAB League finals, but Jones was soon focused on a new goal that had only crystallised in the previous months.

“I tried to get really fit during the summer holidays, but apart from that it’s just all seemed to happen this year,” he said.

“I had a pretty busy pre-season with cricket on as well and I didn’t play a match for footy until the first (NAB League) round, because I was focused on cricket and my body was just sore.

“I then worked a lot on my kicking and my target-hitting in the early half of the season, with a lot of running to keep my fitness and endurance up.

“My main goal became to make the Vic Metro squad. When I made that, I realised maybe I did have a chance of getting drafted, so that’s become the priority since.”


Most influential person on your football at Calder:

“There’s a volunteer named ‘Pops’ and he’s been there for ages. Everyone loves him. I think he’s a real culture-builder for the Cannons and he inspires everyone. He’s always working hard and helping others and he’s just an awesome person to be around.”

Most valuable lesson learned in the NAB League:

“Just don’t get complacent and don’t think things are going to happen. Keep working hard and always try to be better.”

Teammate you’ve most enjoyed sharing the NAB League journey with:

“Jake Sutton is my best mate from high school and Sam Ramsay has been my mate since we were really young. It’s been good to experience it with those two.”

Most difficult NAB League opponent:

“I played against Fischer McAsey (Sandringham Dragons) in the first round this year and he took it to me a bit. He played really well that game running off half-back. He’s probably the most influential player I’ve played on.”

Most memorable NAB League moment:

“My first game as a bottom-ager (Round 9, 2018). I wasn’t really expecting it to happen, but an opportunity came up in the ruck. It was a draw with the Gippsland Power and that was probably the most memorable game I’ve played in.”

Cannons fire at combines

While the 2019 NAB League seasons have well and truly concluded for our boys and girls, the hard work continued for several draft hopefuls.

Calder had 12 players attend last week’s NAB AFLW, AFL and state combines, putting their mental and physical skills to the test in front of on-looking recruiters.

The high performance team had been working with all combine-bound Cannons post season, to best prepare them for the testing days.

It started with the AFL Women’s Draft Combine where Cannons graduates Georgia Patrikios, Alana Barba and Felicity Theodore spent two days at the MCG, Margaret Court Arena and Collingwood’s Holden Centre to undertake several tests and interviews.

The four-day AFL Draft Combine – attended by midfielder Daniel Mott and key forward Harrison Jones – was also split across several venues.

Club interviews were held at the super boxes at Rod Laver Arena, medical screenings took place at the MCG and Margaret Court Arena housed the athletic tests, such as the agility, speed, yo-yo and jump tests.

The 2km time trial was held at the Holden Centre.

Mott recorded the equal-third highest standing vertical jump (70cm), while Jones registered a top 10 finish in the running vertical jump (83cm), 20-metre sprint (2.963 seconds) and yo-yo test (21.4).

On Saturday, seven Cannons – Curtis Brown, Brodie Newman, Sam Ramsay, Jeremy O’Sullivan, Nathan Stewart, Lachlan Gollant and Francis Evans – attended the Sate Combine at Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre, with three of them recording top-five numbers for the running vertical jump.

See some of the results from the AFL and State combines below:



Miles Bergman (Sandringham Dragons): 77cm

Brady Rowles (Bendigo Pioneers): 73

Ben Johnson: 70

Daniel Mott (Calder Cannons): 70

Cody Weightman (Dandenong Stingrays): 69

Sam Flanders (Gippsland Power): 69

Lachlan Williams (Dandenong Stingrays): 69

Sam Philp (Northern Knights): 69

Nick Bryan (Oakleigh Chargers): 69


Brady Rowles (Bendigo Pioneers): 98cm

Miles Bergman (Sandringham Dragons): 90

Sam Flanders (Gippsland Power): 88

Cian McBride: 87

Lachlan Williams (Dandenong Stingrays): 86

Hugo Ralphsmith (Sandringham Dragons): 86

Jaxon Prior: 85

Nick Bryan (Oakleigh Chargers): 85

Oscar Lewis (Sandringham Dragons): 83

Kysaiah Pickett: 83

Cody Weightman (Dandenong Stingrays): 83

Will Day: 83

Brady Rowles (Bendigo Pioneers): 83

Cooper Stephens (Geelong Falcons): 83

Harrison Jones (Calder Cannons): 83


Sam Philp (Northern Knights): 2.867 seconds

Ben Johnson: 2.885

Malcolm Rosas: 2.924

Mitch Georgiades: 2.925

Noah Cumberland: 2.931

Finn Maginness (Sandringham Dragons): 2.957

Harrison Jones (Calder Cannons): 2.963

Jeremy Sharp: 2.966

Brady Rowles (Bendigo Pioneers): 2.968

Dylan Stephens: 2.972


Jay Rantall (GWV Rebels): level 21.8 

Cooper Stephens (Geelong Falcons): 21.8

Connor Budarick: 21.6

Chad Warner: 21.6

Oscar Lewis (Sandringham Dragons): 21.5

Sam Philp (Northern Knights): 21.5

Lachlan Ash (Murray Bushrangers): 21.4

Harrison Jones (Calder Cannons): 21.4

Finn Maginness (Sandringham Dragons): 21.4

Trey Ruscoe: 21.4

Riley Baldi (Gippsland Power): 21.3

Sam Flanders (Gippsland Power): 21.3

Matthew Rowell (Oakleigh Chargers): 21.3

Jeremy Sharp: 21.3



Jeremy O’Sullivan (Calder Cannons): 96cm

Andrew Courtney (Sandringham Dragons): 94cm

Jake Riccardi (Werribee): 92cm

Bigoa Nyuon (Dandenong Stingrays): 92cm

Brodie Newman (Calder Cannons): 92cm

Nathan Stewart (Calder Cannons): 92cm

The AFLW Draft will be held on Tuesday October 22, while the AFL Draft is on Wednesday and Thursday, November 27 and 28.

The Calder Cannons Football Club wishes all aspiring draftees the best in the upcoming drafts.