After Sunday’s Western Derby, Tim Kelly was the name on everyone’s lips and rightfully so after his Glendinning-Allan Medal worthy performance.
With 42 touches, nine tackles and 13 clearances, he was difficult for the critics to look past when awarding votes.
While he was best on ground, one emerging small forward had a career-best game and his performance cannot be ignored.
Jamaine Jones has shown glimpses of excellence in his past sixteen games, especially his first two in the blue and gold at the beginning of last year.
The young Eagle had 21 disposals at 91 percent efficiency, 10 of which were contested, three tackles, 18 pressure acts, and hit the scoreboard twice.
As remarkable as those statistics are, the way Jones held his own in contests against dual Brownlow medallist Nat Fyfe and other established Fremantle stars was also impressive.
And who could forget his absolute beauty of a goal against Nathan Wilson?
Speaking to the media the day after the game, Kelly was positive about his own performance, but made special mention of his former housemate’s performance and development.
“I thought he was awesome,” he said.
“He’s been cracking in and he’s been trying to get a good understanding of what ‘Simmo’ [Adam Simpson] and the team expect of him.
“It’s been a little bit of a challenge with the way he naturally plays. At times, I think ‘Simmo’ touched on it yesterday, but the challenge for him is trying to get that balance of his natural game and what the team needs to do.
“I believe yesterday he had a bit more freedom than what he has in previous games and he was able to play to his strengths and hit the scoreboard and get plenty of the ball as well.”
The AFL journey of Jamaine Jones hasn’t been smooth sailing, but the emergence of his uncaged spirit and fire could be the start of great things for him.
Unlike Kelly, Jones’ departure from the Geelong wasn’t as glamorous. After seven games and a delisting, Jones had to fight for a second chance as an AFL footballer. West Coast took a punt on him, signing him as a rookie in the supplementary pick period.
He debuted in the blue and gold against Port Adelaide last year, only to succumb to a season-ending hamstring injury and end his promising run a week later.
After tearing up the track in the preseason, many thought the 22-year-old would have a break-out year in his newfound swing role in the midfield and forward line.
Until now, Jamaine Jones has been waiting to strike and what better time than the Western Derby?
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As for Kelly, he admits his personal performance wasn’t one of his best despite being named best on ground.
“I didn’t think it was one of my best. I think I’ve had some games where I’ve been able to be very damaging and hit the scoreboard I thought I was good around the contest,” he said.
“It helps having a bit more freedom than the past few weeks, so I was just happy to get my hands on the ball.
“I can be damaging around the contest as well as hit the scoreboard. I feel like I’m at my best when I’m doing both. That’s a complete game.
“You always look at opportunities missed and I kicked two points yesterday.”
Over the past few weeks with long-term injuries to Elliot Yeo and Luke Shuey, Kelly has been expected to stand up and shoulder the responsibility in their absence.
He attributed yesterday’s victory, not to his own performance, but to a consistent four quarter team effort.
“I don’t try and go out there and make it all about myself and stand taller than I have to,” Kelly said.
“With our mids, we have such good depth. Dom Sheed’s become the star, Redden and Gaff have become consistent for a long period of time. Nic in there and the other guys we have floating through there at times.
“I feel like as a collective, we share that load and I thought we did that yesterday.”
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