Jason Robinson: The ultimate team man

Jason Robinson is an unassuming, underrated defender from the western suburbsĀ  who doesn’t have the fanfare surrounding him that others might, but instead he goes about his business and achieves the results required of him. “I’ve got plenty of belief in myself and the team with what we’re trying to do at the Jets.” he told Bound For Glory News. “We believed that if we brought our ‘A game’ we had the talent.”

While many outsiders believed the Jets were going to struggle in season 2013 with such a young list, Robinson said the team never took any notice of what critics outside the walls of the club thought. “We said to each other that we have the most heart in the competition. We know we can outrun teams when put in a given situation, so it’s all about the consistency.”

Outrun teams, they did. Despite being considered a borderline top eight side, the Jets finished within an inch of a qualifying final. They had almost earned the right to face off against minor premiers Geelong in the first week of the finals (a side they had come within a goal of beating earlier in the season), but instead had to settle for a cutthroat elimination final against the Murray Bushrangers.

No game is more cutthroat than a see-sawing encounter in an elimination final when everything is one the line. Down by 15 points at the final change, the Western Jets booted four goals to zip to win by nine points in an epic encounter. One of the men responsible for ensuring the Bushrangers didn’t goal in the final term was Robinson who was given the kick out duties in the final.

“I love kicking in. It’s a great challenge to work through zones or man-on-man. I’ve been the go-to-guy I guess you’d say for the majority of the season and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.” Robinson did admit however, that he was feeling some nerves during the delicately balanced last quarter. “It was a bit daunting thinking the ball might come down and it would be up to me to create a contest to save the game.”

Leading up to the finals series, Robinson confessed he hadn’t had the ideal form. “My form trailed off in the second half of the season after a good first half. I then played a couple of good finals so I was pretty happy overall.” Robinson continued his good form into the ‘Young Guns’ game in which he was one of the best. “A couple of VFL clubs rang me after the game and invited me for a trial and to have an interview which was great.”

Throughout the season, Robinson didn’t need to change to much to his game, but with the help of teammate James Sicily, was able to work on his body work. “He’s a great contested mark. He’s only like 75 kilograms but can outmark guys who are five centremetres taller and weight 90 kilograms. He really helped me with my body positioning.”

Two guys that Robinson says to watch out for next year are Liam Duggan and Duom Dawam. Duggan is an outside runner who Robinson says “never misses a target on the field and is a ripping bloke off it. He makes the footy speak and some of the things he does is freakish.” While Dawam is an “incredibly hard worker and his ruckwork is first class”. Both guys are likely to be selected in the National Draft after they were invited into the AIS Academy squad for 2014.

While he admits he hasn’t had that much contact from AFL clubs, he holds out hope he is still a chance to be drafted. Should he miss out, he will go down the VFL route rather than the over-age route like teammate David Iaccarino. “There’s no real need for me to go back to the Jets. They’ve got so much talent, they don’t need another 187 centremetre player.”

Robinson might not have the flashiest of games, but he is a good kick out of defence, reads the play well and isn’t afraid to play offensively or defensively from the back half when required. His draft profile saw him record an impressive 7.94 seconds in the agility test, topping Tasmania’s Zac Webster who finished first at the draft combine. This shows he has a fair bit of pace and sidestep to work with to go with his long kicking and great teamwork.

While he might sacrifice his own game for the good of the team, Robinson acknowledges there are plenty of roads ahead for the young man from the Western Jets. “I’m aiming to train hard, finish off my year 12 then I’ll start training at a VFL club and hopefully try and get on a list there, or even better get drafted.” Which summarises Robinson’s incredible work ethic and balancing act between studies and football. If your club reads out the name ‘Jason Robinson’ on draft day, then rest assured, you may have found the next Luke Hodge or Nick Duigan hiding late in the drafts.

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