By Peter Argent
Across the Crows stellar first month of the 2022 AFL Women’s season, young up and coming leaders have the emerging stars of the squad.
They have gone to the next level end complemented the senior core group at the Adelaide Football Club, led by Erin Phillips, Ebony Marinoff and skipper Chelsea Randall.
Amongst this epoch is Broken Hill export Eloise “EJ” Jones. She is in All-Australian form and the stats back this up.
Jones said there was no secret to her form but expressed she had a bit of luck along the way.
“My first three rounds I was pretty happy with, I was a bit quieter against Melbourne but obviously happy with the overall win,” she said.
“I think a big focus for me this year was a bit of consistency and I hope I’ve been able to bring that so far this year.
“There are a lot of games to still go so I’m just hoping I can string some more good games of footy together.”
This year she is averaging 14.5 possessions per game, while in the 2021 campaign, playing a role more as a forward Jones averaged 8.9 disposals.
This included a brilliant 20-touch game against the Eagles where she was considered among the best couple of players on the ground.
Jones was also in the best players list in the round one fixture at Flinders University Stadium, Noarlunga in the 2021 Grand Final rematch with Brisbane.
She had a slower start to the preseason after a long lay off due to injury to her shoulder.
“It’s been a little bit different,” Jones said.
“I’m coming off the back of shoulder surgery which was probably around eight-nine months ago now, so my preseason looked a bit different with it spent in rehab for my shoulder.”
Playing this season predominately on a wing, Jones has been able to execute her silky skills, wonderful balance and ability to hit targets boy foot or hand more consistently.
Across the opening month with wins against Brisbane, the Kangaroos, West Coast Eagles – in an away game in Victorian – and against expected fellow top four side Melbourne, Jones has consistently been a creative option, linking up between the defence and attack at the Adelaide Football Club.
She puts her and her sides rich vein of form down to hard work and used last year’s loss as an extra motivation.
“We have trained pretty hard and definitely used the loss last year as a bit of a kick in the butt for this year, but I think we mostly just want to have a successful year and we are all just enjoying playing footy,” she said.
Like fellow Silver City export, first year player Jasmine Simmons, Jones comes from a basketball heritage.
She played SANFLW footy at Glenelg and started with the Morphetville Park Football Club in the SAWFL.
Jones is happy to see other Broken Hill athletes make it to the big stage and believes it can inspire others who live in regional or rural communities.
“There is plenty of talent coming out of Broken Hill through the men’s and women’s programs,” she said.
“It’s exciting to see for country footy and really shows that you can end up in the AFLW or AFL no matter where you’re from.”
Selection number 24 in the 2017 AFL draft, Jones is still just 22 years old and in the form of her life. (She turns 23 in late April).
An All-Australian jumper is beckoning if she continues in the current rich vein of form she has delivered across the first four rounds of this season.
Jones is also seen as a future captain of the Crows women’s team. She has displayed an aptitude for coaching as well.
She began South Australia’s under-15 girls state team, starting out as a “forwards” coach and being elevated to joint head coach.
Jones also took on a coaching role with Adelaide’s Junior Academy, assisting teammate and co-captain Chelsea Randall coach the girls’ elite talent.
Jones has now played 35 games of AFLW football and was a member of the Crows premiership winning team as a teenager back in 2019.