Vale Jack Watts, we hardly knew ye

DA McDonell Roar Rookie

By DA McDonell, DA McDonell is a Roar Rookie

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    I had assumed Josh Mahoney had been misquoted when he was reported to have said “we shouldn’t be having these conversations after nine years”.

    Had presumed what he really meant to say was ….. “we shouldn’t be having these conversations after 53 years”. That it was a heart felt apology on behalf of administrators and coaches to long-suffering Melbourne supporters.

    Apparently, am incorrect. It was in fact a reference to Jack Watts. The popular, former number one draft pick Jack Watts. The man Paul Roos described as one of the best people he had met in football.

    While it is clear Mahoney, Simon Goodwin, Nathan Jones and Garry Lyon will not mourn his loss, there are plenty of supporters who will. I count myself among them.

    Gary Lyon lectures me and others of the need to be cold hearted and dispassionate. Funny, had thought emotion, ownership and passion are hallmarks of supporting a team. Within reason it’s what makes being a member of a club special. Apparently am misguided.

    What disappoints me most, is that Jack Watts was hung out to dry. Public condemnation. Suspect it was the club sending a message. But suspect would not be the only one who felt uncomfortable about the comments which made Jack’s departure inevitable.

    So likewise I have a message. The Melbourne hierarchy had better be right. In trading Jack Watts we lose some heart and soul. It needs to be for a purpose.

    (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

    The purpose and clear message is that for Melbourne, their time is now. Watts out for pick 31 and Jake Lever in for two first round draft picks suggests no more five-year plans. Footscray, Richmond, Melbourne. Well, finals at the very least. Just hope Hawthorn, Footscray, Collingwood and St Kilda aren’t reading this.

    One may wonder when a players fails to meet expectations whether it could ever be seen as a coaching issue. I was musing over that in Round 22 in a match that Melbourne had to win to make the finals. It was at the point when Melbourne found themselves 40 points down in the first quarter to Collingwood. It was a match they lost to an undermanned side which finished thirteenth. Sometimes I wonder about the accountability of coaching panels.

    But really the Jack Watts humiliation factor was being traded for pick number 31. Pick 31!

    No longer are names like Hodge, Kruezer, Goddard, Murphy, Gibbs and Scully counted among his peers.

    His classmates against which he will now be measured are Jason Tutt, Ariel Steinberg and Malcolm Karpany. To be fair it also includes Jordan Roughead, Kamdyn McIntosh, Jackson Merrett and Daniel Howe. And I believe firmly he can be better than Jason Tutt.

    But it is my intent to turn Jack’s departure into a positive. To look forward, not back.

    I need a new favourite player as you can’t have your pin up boy running around in another jumper. My new favourite player hasn’t been born yet. It will be pick 31.

    Like an expectant parent, don’t not know who it is, or what it looks like. Could be a “run with”, link man, midfielder, tall or small. In this day and age don’t even know it’s age or gender. And that’s a healthy thing.

    Can’t wait to set eyes on baby Jack, alternate Jack or substitute Jack. Just hope that my new favourite player is not an inferior Norwegian veal substitute.

    In the meantime, Vale Jack. Good luck at the Power.

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    The Crowd Says (36)

    • October 22nd 2017 @ 5:52am
      Bob GOOCH said | October 22nd 2017 @ 5:52am | ! Report

      Give me a break please ! Our ” sheep dog ” Watts was not as you put it ” hung out to dry ” – he was at the club for just on 9 years and during that time he wa given way too many chances to perform. His performances were not anywhere near good enough, and his ability to go and get the hard ball always raised its head.As a MFC member I had been pleading with the club for years to get rid of him ! They should have done it moons ago. Yes it’s unfortunate that we only received pick 31 but I reckon most of us members would accept a player from the Timbuktu thirds for him. Go with our blessing Jack and best of luck at Port

    • October 22nd 2017 @ 9:04am
      Matto said | October 22nd 2017 @ 9:04am | ! Report

      Seems he was a polarising figure with melbourne supporters.
      I rate him and think he should do well at port.
      Not A grade though he could still become that in the last 3rd of his career.
      I think the melbourne supporters that didnt rate him might be disgruntled by the fact they could have had nic nat instead?

      • October 22nd 2017 @ 10:02am
        Tony Tea said | October 22nd 2017 @ 10:02am | ! Report

        I’m a Melbourne supporter. I love Watts, but I don’t rate Watts highly. But nor did I want Nik Nat, who was a massive flight risk, and who would have been lucky (or unlucky) to last 3 years at Melbourne.

      • Roar Pro

        October 23rd 2017 @ 8:48am
        Darren M said | October 23rd 2017 @ 8:48am | ! Report

        There was no reason for Melbourne to pick up Nic Nat. Jeff White was delisted that year, we had Mark Jamar, Jake Spencer and Stefan Martin and had no need for yet another ruckman.

        All the media, all the talk, the draft combine, the data pointed to Pick number 1 in 2008 was always going to be Jack Watts, regardless of which club finished with the pick. It was Watts #1. Daylight then possibly Nic Nat. There were few obvious stars in 2008. #3 was Stephen Hill and #4 was Hamish Hartlett. Neither of whom would be called a superstar.

        • October 23rd 2017 @ 2:12pm
          Matto said | October 23rd 2017 @ 2:12pm | ! Report

          ” the media, all the talk, the draft combine, the data pointed to Pick number 1 in 2008 was always going to be Jack Watts”

          Says a lot about the media the draft combine the data doesn’t it.

          Had no reason to pick him other than it was obvious he was going to be an athletic freak and the ruckman of his generation 😛

          • Roar Guru

            October 23rd 2017 @ 2:40pm
            Cat said | October 23rd 2017 @ 2:40pm | ! Report

            Hindsight is a wonderful thing isn’t it?

            • October 23rd 2017 @ 11:10pm
              Matto said | October 23rd 2017 @ 11:10pm | ! Report

              Yep. The fact we think that so often when reflecting on drafts probably means we over rate higher order picks.
              It’s not a unique thing to AFL either.
              Freo def “won” the draft period in my eyes but its just as likely its because b.matera turns into a star instead of their pick 2 turning into something great.

          • October 24th 2017 @ 7:08am
            I ate pies said | October 24th 2017 @ 7:08am | ! Report

            Naitanui is still average. He can jump, that’s about it. He can’t find the footy and he can’t kick.

            • October 24th 2017 @ 6:43pm
              Matto said | October 24th 2017 @ 6:43pm | ! Report

              True he is only at sandilands/mumfords level right now. Do think you are underrating his defensive pressure.
              Should reach Cox level in the next few years.
              Hasn’t reached typical ruckman peak age yet.

    • October 22nd 2017 @ 9:52am
      Tony Tea said | October 22nd 2017 @ 9:52am | ! Report

      Roos may have said Watts was the best person in footy, but that did not stop Roos offering Watts up for trade (and getting no bites).

      And please take off the Watts tinted glasses. Watts’ time at Melbourne, after 9 years of missing tackles, slipping over, attempting marks with floppy hands, approaching the footy while expecting contact, going absent in pressure games, relentlessly dropping chest marks and being an all round flake, was up.

      • October 22nd 2017 @ 1:48pm
        Blake Standfield said | October 22nd 2017 @ 1:48pm | ! Report

        Missing tackles, going absent in pressure games. Sounds like he was following the Melbourne game plan.

    • October 22nd 2017 @ 11:50am
      Greg Falk said | October 22nd 2017 @ 11:50am | ! Report

      How long since Melbourne won a Grand final. I suspect it will be many more years….2 draft picks for Lever does not make a GF prospect. I’ll bet that Port are the winners out of all this.

      Melbourne – enjoy your time in the bottom half.

      • October 22nd 2017 @ 12:09pm
        Bob GOOCH said | October 22nd 2017 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

        Is that right ” Mr Fork ” no doubt you’d know

        • October 24th 2017 @ 9:18am
          truetigerfan said | October 24th 2017 @ 9:18am | ! Report

          And no doubt you do, Mr Gooch!

    • October 22nd 2017 @ 12:24pm
      Slane said | October 22nd 2017 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

      A surprising amount of Melbourne supporters are sad/angry to see Watts go. He’s always struck me as a bit of a Ty Vickery.

      • October 23rd 2017 @ 12:46pm
        Gecko said | October 23rd 2017 @ 12:46pm | ! Report

        The difference is that Ty Vickery was a lumberer and the game has less and less use for lumberers, whereas Watts is a more agile big man. There is still time to turn Watts into the next Jack Riewoldt. Port took a gamble but there’s enormous upside if Watts can develop more confidence and a more rounded game.

        • Roar Guru

          October 23rd 2017 @ 1:19pm
          Pumping Dougie said | October 23rd 2017 @ 1:19pm | ! Report

          I agree Watts could be used better and potentially made a consistently useful footballer. I also agree he’s a lot better than Ty Vickery. Watts is a tall elite kick with running endurance, plus he can take the odd good mark. He should be used as a half-back flanker or wingman and be the nominated kicker to deliver it beautifully inside 50.

          But I think it’s an insult to Jack Riewoldt to suggest Watts could become like him – I see daylight between Watts and Riewoldt in terms of their psyche, hardness and competitive spirit.

          P.S. Good article DA.

        • October 25th 2017 @ 6:54am
          Slane said | October 25th 2017 @ 6:54am | ! Report

          Pea-hearted players never change.

    • October 22nd 2017 @ 1:37pm
      Sal said | October 22nd 2017 @ 1:37pm | ! Report

      I’m still torn about offloading watts. His a great person and adored by most of the supporters. On the other hand there seems to be things going on behind the scenes, work ethic, party lifestyle, that Goodwin just isn’t going to tolerate anymore.

      I’ve heard it said that Goodwin got the most out of himself as a player and he would find it incongruent to keep any player who is unwilling to do the same, especially one with talent and who is now one of the senior players, who should be a role model.

      I would have kept him and it pains me to see him go. But we only see the players 22 times a year, we don’t know what’s happening the rest of the time.

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