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Nathan Jones to head home as hopes of grand final fairytale officially end

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11th September, 2021
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Melbourne Demons icon Nathan Jones will return to Melbourne, putting an end to hopes of a recall for the Demons’ drought-breaking grand final berth.

The Age reports that Jones, 33, will fly home on Sunday to be with partner Jerri, who is heavily pregnant with twins.

It’s a fairytale of a different sort for the club great and former captain, whose 302 games have coincided with some of the Dees’ darkest days. However, with the possibility of a grand final call-up looking increasingly unlikely due to his teammates’ outstanding finals form, the decision has been made to put family first.

After the Demons’ stirring 83-point preliminary final win over Geelong to book a first grand final berth since 2000, coach Simon Goodwin maintained the veteran was in the selection frame, despite his personal dilemma.

“Obviously, he’s really close to selection, it’s a really tough situation,” Goodwin said.

“He’s so proud of his footy club right now, he’s given so much and he’s in a really tough situation.

“Jerri’s due with twins and could come at any stage, so we’ll continue to liaise with Nathan and Jerri as to what that looks like, but he’s close to selection, he’s pushing his case and he wants to be a part of it.”

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Jones is the last Demon standing from their horrifying 186-point loss to the Cats in Round 19 of 2011, a defeat which saw coach Dean Bailey sacked and was finally laid to rest with Friday night’s finals revenge. He was visibly emotional after the siren as his new crop of star teammates finished the club’s remarkable turnaround, many of whom he helped come to grips with the demands of AFL life.

>> READ: How the Dees demolished the crumbling Cats in the preliminary final

The 302-gamer hasn’t been named in the starting 22 since his 300th game back in Round 6, when the Demons shocked reigning premiers Richmond in their first major statement of intent in what has become a dream 2021 campaign. Excellent scratch match form had led to hopes from Jones – and the vast majority of the footy public – of being named as the medical sub for the grand final, which would have guaranteed him a premiership medal should the Demons win regardless of whether he was activated.

Jones departs the game as one of the Demons’ favourite sons, and a three-time best and fairest winner during a tumultuous period for the club. His footy journey may not end with a deserved premiership medal; but for Jones the family man, a new adventure awaits.

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