By Peter Argent
Dual premiership player with Adelaide, Eloise “EJ” Jones joins the 50-game AFLW club today – Saturday as the Crows play their final minor round match of season seven against St Kilda at RSEA Park.
Jones, who still has strong connections to Broken Hill through her grandparents, is among the youngest AFLW players to reach the milestone.
A classy forward/midfielder who is strong overhead and dangerous around goal, Jones was initially selected with pick number 24 in the 2017 AFLW draft, from the Glenelg Tigers.
Tenacious, skillful and hard-working, Jones is a natural leader and many believe she will be a future captain at the Crows.
She impressed from her first AFLW season, playing every game in the initial campaign and earning a Rising Star nomination in Round Five.
“With some of the young ones here now, I starting to feel a bit old,” Jones laughed when speaking to the Barrier Truth about the milestone.
“If you told the 12-year-old me I’d play 50-AFLW games I wouldn’t have believed you. Back then there wasn’t the pathways for female athletes.
“On reflection, these are the type of landmarks you look back on, I suppose.
“I’ve had a couple of injuries over the years and I feel pretty fortunate to hit the 50-game mark and am proud to achieve this.
The premierships are certainly the highlights, and especially looking back in 2019 when we played in front of 53,000 on Grand Final day at Adelaide Oval. That day will live in the memory banks for a long while.
“To have a couple of premiership medals at 23 is special and I’d certainly love a couple more.
“I’ve been lucky enough to have good strong mentors over the journey.
“One of my primary school teachers Paul Fontas was great when I was young. He told me I could mix it with the boys and instilled a belief in me.
“In the time at the Crows, both ‘Flip’ (Erin Phillips) and Chelsea (current Captain Chelsea Randall) have been wonderful role models.
“I’m certainly keen to get to the 100 game milestones, and you never know, 150 may not be out of the question.”
An elite junior basketballer as well, Jones is noted for her beautiful balance and composure on the ground.
She says both her granddads take credit for passing those genes down.
Now 23, Jones has played eight of the nine games going into this milestone match, averaging a highly respectable 10.6 disposals per game in season seven of the AFLW.
This is up from her career average of 9.5 across her first 49 matches.
The Crows are currently third on the ladder, percentage ahead of Richmond and Collingwood.
A win today will consolidate a top four finish and guarantee Adelaide’s participation in the first two weeks of finals, at a minimum.
Along with her playing credentials, Jones has also been involved with the SA state Under-15s and Crows Academy in a coaching role.