Demons' Jones rejects AFL GF medal push

Nathan Jones says AFL premiership medals should only be awarded to grand final players.
Nathan Jones says AFL premiership medals should only be awarded to grand final players.

Recently retired Melbourne great Nathan Jones has rubbished calls for premiership medallions to be handed to players who do not feature in an AFL grand final.

Jones, a former Demons captain, left Perth and returned to Melbourne after the club's preliminary final win over Geelong so he could be at the birth of his twins.

The 33-year-old, who played 302 AFL games - the second most in the Demons' history - will not feature in Melbourne's tilt at a drought-breaking first premiership in 57 years.

Jones has been used as the poster boy for calls to break with football tradition, but has no interest in receiving a medal if he is not part of the team in a grand final.

"I'd like to keep it traditional," he told SEN on Tuesday.

"I don't adhere to the view that the entire list should (be given a medal).

"It is a ruthless game and there's hardluck stories every year, but ultimately it's about the 23 on grand final day.

"I would like it to stay the way it is."

Jones on Monday night confessed to a complex mix of emotions about his big call to return home to his family.

He knew he had little chance of forcing his way into the side for the decider against the Western Bulldogs.

"There's been a range of emotions, I'd be lying if I was there wasn't," he told Fox Footy's On The Couch.

"How I feel as a player and as an individual and as a competitor, absolutely there is disappointment.

"There's a whole range of emotions I'm going through, that's probably take some time to sort of work my way through.

"On the flip side of that, there's this huge amount of joy and pride in where the club is at now, and the opportunity that presents itself."

While Jones is the hard-luck story of the grand final, he knows he made the right call.

"It's been a helluva week," he said.

"It's probably one of the best moments I've had, watching my two other children meet our two latest children.

"What a moment it was and definitely a decision I will never regret."

The morning after the preliminary final win, Jones could sense he needed to make the call on whether to stay with the team or fly home.

"In my mind, it was pretty clear," he said

"I wanted to get home and be part of something pretty bloody special."

For all the mixed emotions about not being at the game as Melbourne try to break their 57-year premiership drought, Jones said he is particularly excited for the club's long-suffering fans.

The veteran, a hugely respected figure at Melbourne, also takes comfort in giving himself every chance this season to force his way back into he senior side.

Before Jones left Perth, he told his teammates he was retiring as a player.

He will keep in touch with the team this week and help out however possible.

"Unfortunately footy is a ruthless bloody game and that's the position I find myself in," he said.

Australian Associated Press