Any doubts Josh Jones had about the strength of his knee were dispelled today when he kicked six goals to lead the Tamworth Swans to victory over the New England Nomads.
The Swans co-coach is playing his first season of AFL since 2020, when he severely injured his left knee.
But Jones' comeback to the sport has been emphatic, and in the first three games of 2022, he has kicked 12 goals.
This early success, Jones said, was more coincidental than by design, as he has always played as a rover but found himself with ample scoring opportunities early in the season.
"It's just how it's turned out," Jones said.
"It's nice to kick a few, but I've always been a rover, an on-baller, and if I can get on a few [goals] and help the boys at the end of the day, that's the key."
Playing in the midfield, Jones is generally required to be among the hardest workers on the field in terms of distance covered.
This workload puts a lot of strain on his knee, but as an exercise physiologist, Jones has managed his recovery extremely carefully, and continues to do so.
"It's been fantastic, I'm continuing to do everything before games and after games to get it right," he said.
"But going into the season, I couldn't be happier with it."
Jones' work cleared the path to a 15.19.109 to 10.11.71 victory over the Nomads at Riverside 5, in a game which he expected to be their toughest of the season so far.
Though the win will give the Swans confidence moving forward in the season, Jones is determined not to allow any complacency to creep in.
"We need to not be too stagnant and start to think that things are getting easy," he said.
"We're going to work on doing the basics really well and stick to our structures, and hopefully we can keep getting good results."
Fellow Swans co-coach, Paul Kelly, praised the side for their determination keep the Nomads from a late comeback.
"[New England is] always one of the teams to beat in the league," Kelly said.
"We've got a few boys out, so we knew we'd have a tough day. But I thought we finished off really well after three quarter time. I told the boys we needed a big effort, and they gave it to us."
The men's victory followed the same result in the women's game, as the Swans got up 11.11.77 to 9.5.59 earlier today.
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