Jason Akermanis in 2007
|Full name||Jason Dean Akermanis|
|Date of birth||24 February 1977|
|Place of birth||Mildura, Victoria|
|Original team||Mayne (QAFL)|
|Draft||NAT Zone Selection, 1994, Brisbane Bears|
|Height/Weight||177cm / 85kg|
|Position(s)||Midfielder / Forward|
325 (421)38 (44)
|Representative team honours|
|International team honours|
1 Playing statistics correct to end of 2010 season.
Jason Dean Akermanis (born 24 February 1977) was an Australian rules football player. He is a Brownlow Medallist and triple premiership player who played for the Brisbane Bears, Brisbane Lions and Western Bulldogs.
Akermanis was born in Mildura, Victoria and is of Lithuanian descent on his Canadian-born father's side. Akermanis grew up in Victoria, moving to Queensland in his youth where he was educated at Wavell State High School then at St. Joseph's Nudgee College and played football with the Mayne Football Club where he was spotted by Brisbane Bears talent scouts. He completed year 12 at high school (aged 18) during his first year with the Brisbane Bears.
Brisbane Bears (1995–1996)
Akermanis was a solid contributor to the Brisbane Bears midfield (wing), with his pace and skills evident even early in his career.
Brisbane Lions (1997–2006)
It was after the Brisbane Lions formed that he began to shine, bulking up significantly, and a move to the forward line enabled him to make the most of his opportunities and develop a reputation as a goal sneak.
Akermanis became one of the Brisbane Lions' most talented players. His flamboyant talents and bleached-blonde hair and contrasting black beard make him easy to identify on the field. At the Lions he made his name as a speedy midfielder or on-baller with blistering acceleration and an uncanny ability to kick exceptionally well with either foot, talents which helped him win the AFL's coveted Brownlow Medal in 2001.
Akermanis is also known for his goalscoring abilities. He was a winner of the AFL Goal of the Year 2002 award and has an ability to kick goals from acute angles. In a match in 2005, he kicked two goals within minutes of each other from almost exactly the same spot: deep in the right forward pocket on the run. Early in the 2006 season, Akermanis was dropped from the Brisbane Lions side for Round 7, playing a game with the Suncoast Lions. This coincided with inflammatory comments that he made about the coach, Leigh Matthews, during the week and there was speculation that his time at the club was up, only a few months after he had won the 2005 club best and fairest award. However, Akermanis was soon recalled to the side and responded with 22 disposals across half-back in the game against Port Adelaide and a post-match interview with Channel Nine showed him smiling and visibly happy with his performance. On 27 July 2006 it was reported that the coaching panel and senior playing group had voted unanimously (12–0) to not allow him back into the club.
Western Bulldogs (2007–2010)
On 6 September, it was reported that the Western Bulldogs were leading in the race to sign Akermanis for the 2007 season. On 15 September, Akermanis confirmed that he wanted to join the Bulldogs. It was then down to the Lions agreeing on the trade price, which they did on 9 October, when Brisbane Lions football manager Graeme Allan announced that the team had agreed to trade Akermanis to the Bulldogs.
At the end of the 2008 season, Akermanis made a statement that he would retire at the end of 2009 when his three year contract expired, however he displayed excellent form at the start of the 2009 season, and later retracted his earlier comment about retirement. Western Bulldogs coach Rodney Eade said he had not ruled out the possibility of extending Akermanis' contract, depending on his performance for the rest of the season. He then signed with the Bulldogs for another year, hoping to play in a fourth premiership side. It is assumed his contract would be for substantially less pay than his previous deal, which is estimated at between $350,000 and $400,000 a year.
In July 2010 it was announced that the Western Bulldogs had terminated Akermanis' contract due to the club's judgement that the two were on different paths.
Akermanis began playing with the Glenorchy Football Club in the Tasmanian State League in 2011 as well as playing a number of one-off games at various country clubs. In 2013, he became captain-coach of the North Albury Football Club in the Ovens & Murray Football League.
Off field personality and controversy
In the late 2000s, Akermanis had a regular newspaper column, which, in contrast to many footballers' columns, addressed some hard issues and not always in a politically correct way, which caused several controversies. Among the most prominent controversies were:
- In 2007, Akermanis wrote about performance enhancing drugs and his views on their presence in sport, which included comments that he believed an specific opposing player, whom he did not name, had been using the drugs based on how strong a runner the player was for his size. The Seven Network and Fairfax Media inferred and named the player as the West Coast Eagles' Michael Braun, damaging Braun's reputation and subjecting him to an investigation by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, which cleared him of wrongdoing. Braun was ultimately awarded defamation damages against Seven and Fairfax, and received an apology from Akermanis, who conceded that he had been referring to Braun, and admitted that he had been wrong.
- In 2010, he wrote about homosexuality in sports, and expressed an opinion that he believed homosexual players should stay in the closet as he did not believe football culture was not at that time ready to fully accept them. Numerous people spoke out against his column, and the Western Bulldogs who were worried about the negative publicity, suspended him for two matches for not having the column approved by the club before having it published.
- In a radio interview shortly after the death of Melbourne Football Club player and president Jim Stynes in 2012, Akermanis commented that Stynes was "a nasty man in his day", was treated as a "demi-god", and questioned his deservedness to receive a state funeral just two days after Stynes' death.
Some of Akermanis' other media faux pas included threatening to switch codes to rugby union in 2002 if the Brisbane Lions signed former Kangaroos Football Club star Wayne Carey, leaking to the media that teammate Nigel Lappin had broken ribs before the 2003 Grand Final, and ongoing criticism of his coach at the Brisbane Lions, Leigh Matthews. Akermanis' dismissal from the Western Bulldogs was ultimately partly related to leaking confidential team information to the media as part of a media career which the Bulldogs believed was taking an undue amount of his focus.
Akermanis co-wrote a book with Gary Smart titled AKA – The Battle Within, which was released in 2004. He released his autobiography named Open Season in mid-2011, which further details his messy departures from both the Brisbane Lions and the Western Bulldogs.
Akermanis is married to Megan Legge, a speech pathologist. They have two daughters, Charlotte and Sienna. Akermanis learned Auslan in order to communicate with his wife's hearing-impaired parents. He also speaks Spanish.
|†||Denotes seasons in which Akermanis won an AFL Premiership|
|Led the league for the Season only*|
|Led the league after Finals only*|
|Led the league after Season and Finals*|
*10 games required to be eligible.
|Totals||Averages (per game)|
Honours and Achievements
|Brownlow Medal votes|
|Green / Bold = Won|
- Speaker Jason Akermanis Full Biography – Speakers Bureau @ ICMI
- A solo Akermanis gave the Bulldogs no choice, The Roar, Retrieved on 22 July 2010.
- Multicultural team of champions – Australian Football League. Published 27 June 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
- "Aka shows he's far from finished". The Age. 18 May 2009.
- "Akermanis to decide his future at season's end". AAP. 12 June 2009.
- Wilson, Caroline; Lane, Samantha (21 July 2010). "Trust issues: Bulldogs sack Jason Akermanis". The Age (Melbourne).
- Smith, A., Herald Sun, "Jason Akermanis signs with Tassie team Glenorchy", 18 November 2010, Retrieved, 18 November 2010.
- "Coach Akermanis: North Albury signs ex-AFL star". The Border Mail. 19 October 2012. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
- "Braun cleared by ASADA". Fox Sports. 20 August 2007. Retrieved 29 June 2010.
- "Akermanis posts apology to Braun". The Australian. 25 April 2008. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
- "Stay in the closet, Jason Akermanis tells homosexuals". Herald Sun News. 20 May 2010.
- Redford-Hunt, Amy (21 May 2010). "AFL distances itself from gay claim". Melbourne: The Age.
- Wilson, Caroline (26 May 2010). "Doggies battling to get Aka back on the leash". Melbourne: The Age.
- Jason, Good (21 March 2012). "Akermanis: Stynes was a 'nasty man'". 3AW. Retrieved 21 March 2012.
- "Akermanis welcome at Queensland rugby". Australian Rugby Union Ltd. 24 June 2002.
- Monteverde, Marco (7 June 2007). "Banished Lion will talk". Fox Sports. Retrieved 29 June 2010.
- Hamilton, Andrew (22 May 2009). "Akermanis speaks out against Leigh Matthews again". Courier Mail (Brisbane). Retrieved 29 June 2010.
- "Sport: Jason Akermanis". State Library of Queensland. 3 July 2009. Retrieved 29 June 2010.
- Brodie, Will (1 June 2010). "Jason Akermanis, a colourful life". The Sydney Morning herald. Retrieved 29 June 2010.
- Jason Akermanis' player profile at AFL Tables
- Jason Akermanis's profile on the official website of the Western Bulldogs
- Jason Akermanis's statistics from AFL Tables
1999 (shared with Justin Leppitsch)