AFL Women’s Academy member and Dandenong Stingrays’ mid/forward Courtney Jones has no problem aiming high in a bid to try and get the most out of herself. The versatile player who has kept getting better throughout the 2018 TAC Cup Girls season is eyeing off a spot in the All-Australian side. While the huge accolade is an achievement that only few receive each year, ‘Jonesy’ has been working hard to reach her dream which she set a while ago.
“I’m hoping to make the All-Australian side if I can, it’s been a goal for a while now,” Jones said. She also has a broader goal in mind for the conclusion of the national championships. “I’m really just learning new things, being with a new bunch of girls every year and just improving.”
Jones’ pathway started from a young age, with her focus being on getting the most out of football and fitting in however she could to play as much football as she could.
“I started at Under 9s and worked my way through the boys,” Jones said. “Once I realised I couldn’t play the boys anymore I went to the girls. I didn’t really know there was a pathway or anything like that and first year girls I started finding the pathways, doing interleague and then eventually Stingrays and worked my way from there.”
This year Jones has enjoyed being a part of the Dandenong Stingrays’ program, improving her leadership and learning new structures – something she has built on with her experience in both Vic Country and the AFL Women’s Academy.
“It’s been a great experience and developing with things, learning new game plays, making new friends as well and just learning off the coaches to be a better leader,” Jones said. “It’s been an elite program, it’s been hard to transition from work to footy to Stingrays to Vic because they’re all different levels and all have different styles of play but it’s been good to learn to new things and improve as a player, on-field and off-field. “It’s been really good meeting new girls from other states and being able to work together as one group. Having the best coaches you could I guess, teaching you all about footy, what to do, what not to do on and off the field.”
Outside of football, Jones has not decided exactly what she wants to do, but is considering following her father into a trade, with her preferred trade being an electrician. Looking ahead to the national carnival, Jones wants to build on the foundations she has set this season in the TAC Cup Girls.
“I think I started off slow in Stingrays but I worked my way through it and finished off really strong and hopefully get to Nationals and have a good carnival there,” Jones said. “My improvements are my running but I think my strengths is my read of the play, my kicking.”
While performing at the nationals are the immediate task at hand, Jones is well aware that a lifelong dream could come to fruition in the near future.
“Definitely, as a kid it’s the thing (getting drafted) that I wanted,” Jones said. “I wanted to play in the AFL, I wanted to get there one day and it just wasn’t there until a couple of years ago, so it’s good to see AFLW coming out and really getting bigger.”
Expect Jones to play between midfield and forward in the upcoming carnival next week, with Vic Country starting their campaign against Queensland on Monday.