Accomplished AFL Women’s footballer with Silver City heritage, Eloise ‘EJ’ Jones knows the emotional gulf between premiership glory and Grand Final defeat.
At just 24 years of age, the durable Jones, who has played 63 games, has experienced the highs of two AFLW premierships—the season-six title in 2022 against Melbourne and the 2019 Grand Final victory over Carlton—both at Adelaide Oval.
Conversely, Jones has also endured the heartbreak of a Grand Final defeat, also at the home of SA sport, when the Brisbane Lions overcame the Crows by 18 points in 2021. The Lions’ coaching staff included West Broken Hill’s own Brent Staker.
Jones, playing as a hybrid forward-midfielder, is currently at the peak of her game. Noted for her exceptional balance, marking ability, and impact on the scoreboard, Jones has kicked a career-high 13 goals in 2023, which includes a four-goal haul against the GWS Giants in round four.
Throughout the 2023 minor round, she has earned three nominations for the AFLW Mark of the Year; a significant leap in round four against the Giants, a spectacular one-hander against Gold Coast the following week, and another remarkable catch on the goal square’s edge in round seven.
“Pushing forward this year, it has given me more opportunities to use my aerial abilities,” said Jones as she prepared for another AFLW finals series on Wednesday.
“I’ve been pleased with my ability to hit the scoreboard this year. To have finished the minor round on top of the ladder has guaranteed at least two home finals for us.
“There has been consistency in our training load, and we’ve done a lot of preparation for the major round. The coaching staff deserve a lot of credit for this.
“We have a lot of respect for the Brisbane program, and there is a rivalry with the Lions. The game at this level is developing quickly, and the way teams are now able to transition the ball from one end to the other is indicative of the rising quality,” Jones added.
Jones has also averaged 11 disposals per game in the 2023 campaign, above her career average of 9.6 possessions. In the round seven win over the Western Bulldogs, she notched up a personal best of 20 disposals in a decisive victory at Norwood Oval.
With their win in the west, and thanks to Brisbane’s defeat of Melbourne in round 10, Adelaide claimed the title of 2023 minor premiers. This secures them a solid position for the major round, offering at least two home finals and the possibility of playing in a fourth AFLW Grand Final in early December at Adelaide Oval.
There have been a few close calls for the team, including nail-biting wins over a resurgent Melbourne at Casey Fields in round six, and a thrilling round nine victory over North Melbourne at Norwood.
Adelaide’s Head of Women’s Football, Phil Harper, expressed optimism about the team’s health. “Having almost every player fit for selection is a huge advantage at this stage of the season. Our High-Performance and Medical team deserve credit for this, as does a bit of luck,” Harper stated.
“It means we’ll face some tough decisions come selection time. We are confident in the depth of our squad, which puts us in an enviable position for the finals series.”
The Crows commence their major round with a home game against fourth-placed Brisbane today, Saturday, November 11, at Norwood Oval, 2:35 pm.
A victory would earn them a week’s rest and secure a home preliminary final the weekend of November 25/26.