By Terry Wilson
SOME authoritative performances patrolling a half-back flank have led to Surfers Paradise teenager Alby Jones being named the QAFL Rising Star nominee for round 11.
Jones, 18, has been one of a number of emerging teens at the Demons and last week was awarded five votes in the Syd Guilford Trophy when Surfers beat Morningside at Sir Bruce Small Park.
It was Jones’s ninth successive game in the seniors this year and, after making his debut as a 16-year-old – also in a winning team against Morningside in 2016 – he has now played in 29 first grade matches.
Ever since he made his debut for the Demons as a product on the Gold Coast Suns academy, Jones has impressed everybody with his willingness to attack from the half-back flank.
His coach Brad Moore said Jones was more of a wingman at the academy and was “a lot leaner” then.
“But now he has a much stronger body, he has speed and he runs and attacks well,” Moore said.
“As such he has been given a licence to take the game on.”
And that’s the way Jones likes it.
“I definitely like doing that – running and setting up goals,” Jones said.
Jones was a junior at Labrador, where his father Leon is featured prominently on club honour boards.
Jones Jnr made his way to Sir Bruce Small Park in 2016 when Labrador could not get the numbers to field an under-16 side and he linked with a number of former schoolmates at Aquinas College.
Like every youngster, a place on an AFL club’s list is the dream or, failing that, having a crack at the NEAFL is a preferred option.
“Getting drafted would be the ultimate,” he says.
As mentioned before, Jones’s dad Leon is something of a legend at Cooke-Murphy oval.
He was a hard-nosed specialist full-back who played eight years in the yellow and black for six grand finals and three flags from 1987 to 1994.
Young Alby’s older brother Jake played a handful of games for Broadbeach when the Cats were in the NEAFL.
Jones is now the third Surfers teenager to gain Rising Star Award nomination this year, following on from Harris Newton and Jasper Graham.
The emphasis on youth at Surfers this season is profound.
Coach Moore said the club has used eight players eligible for Rising Star nominations so far this season and has averaged about six per game.
After beating Morningside last weekend, the Demons moved to fourth on the QAFL ladder and are playing Sandgate at Lemke Road this weekend.