Jack Watts (footballer)
Watts at training in July 2015.
|Full name||Jack Watts|
|Date of birth||26 March 1991|
|Original team(s)||Sandringham Dragons (TAC Cup)|
|Draft||No. 1, 2008 national draft|
|Debut||Round 11, 2009, Melbourne
v. Collingwood, at MCG
|Height/Weight||196 cm / 92 kg|
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of round 17, 2016.
Jack Watts (born 26 March 1991) is an Australian rules footballer playing for the Melbourne Football Club in the Australian Football League (AFL). He was the number one draft pick in the 2008 AFL draft.
Though a skilled junior footballer, Watts was also a very promising junior basketball player who could have pursued a professional career in the sport after representing Victoria in under 18 state titles but decided instead to focus on an AFL career.
Watts played under 18 football with the Sandringham Dragons in the TAC Cup, and attended Brighton Grammar School competing in the Associated Public Schools of Victoria (APS). He represented Vic Metro in 2008, winning the Larke Medal and All-Australian honours and performed well at the 2008 AFL Draft Camp. He recorded the second fastest time by a non-indigenous player in the 20 metres sprint with 2.82 seconds.
In the lead up to the 2008 AFL Draft, it was widely tipped that Melbourne, possessing the first overall selection would take either Watts, Nic Naitanui of Swan Districts, or Daniel Rich of Subiaco. Ultimately on 29 November 2008, Melbourne selected Watts with the first pick.
Watts made his AFL debut against Collingwood in the annual AFL Queen's Birthday Clash at the MCG in Round 11, 2009. Melbourne lost by 66 points, and his debut match would become a major topic in subsequent Melbourne seasons.
After a small injury in the pre-season Watts began the 2010 season slowly, playing for the Casey Scorpions, Melbourne's affiliate club, in the VFL. Watts played his first match for Melbourne in 2010, in round 8, against the West Coast Eagles, at the MCG. Watts had 15 possessions and took several contested marks, in a solid performance. The match was notable for the fact that it was the first time Watts had played against his draft contemporary; Nic Naitanui. Naitanui was the number two pick from the 2008 draft, where opinion was divided on who would be taken at number one.
Watts showed solid improvement in the 2011 season, he played all 22 games and kicked 21 goals which included kicking a career high 3 goals on two occasions. At the end of the season, Watts finished equal 9th with Jordie McKenzie in Melbourne's Best and Fairest.
After showing inconsistency in the forward line for the first few weeks of the season, Watts was dropped to the VFL until he made his return to the Demons side as a defender. While taking on the role, Watts arguably played the best football of his career between rounds 8 and 15 which included a career high 34 possessions against the Sydney Swans. Undoubtedly, Watts' career highlight was to lead the league in intercept marks over a three week period during 2012. After round 15, Watts suffered an injury and didn't return to the side until round 21.
Watts had a poor start to the 2013 AFL season with some underwhelming performances in the back line. Despite stating that Watts would play as a defender during the 2013 AFL season, Mark Neeld returned Watts to the forward line before his sacking. During the second half of the season, Watts found form as a forward where he kicked 18 goals in 11 games including two hauls of 4 goals against the Western Bulldogs in rounds 14 and 23. Watts earned three votes in the 2013 Brownlow Medal for his efforts in round 14 which included a match saving mark in defence in the dying stages of the game.
During the 2013 season, there was much speculation that Watts was unhappy with the Melbourne Demons and would request a trade to another club. Shortly after the appointment of Paul Roos as senior coach, Watts re-signed with the Demons for three years.
Prior to the 2014 AFL season, it was suggested by coach Paul Roos that Watts would be played in the midfield where he could apply his pace and kicking skills. This was evident in Melbourne's opening round 17-point loss to St Kilda where he racked up 27 disposals and was considered the Demon's best player for the game. This was followed by a series of inconsistent performances where he would be moved to a variety of positions before settling as a half-forward. This was shortly followed by a match winning three goal, 11 mark performance against Richmond. Watts finished the season playing all 22 games for just the second time of his career as well as placing 10th in Melbourne's best and fairest.
Watts began the 2015 AFL season strongly with a three goal performance against the Gold Coast Suns in Round 1 before yet again falling out of form over the next several rounds, including his 100th game against Fremantle in Round 5. Watts then gained attention in the media after he controversially dropped himself from the Round 7 team against Hawthorn, with coach Paul Roos suggesting that the move was a "positive" and a "turning point" in Watts' career. During the second half of the season, Watts began to string together several consistent performances, primarily rotating between the wing and half-forward, before again being dropped for the final round clash against Greater Western Sydney.
Style of play
Watts is an athletic, strong-marking tall forward with pace who is an excellent shot on goal. He has a big left foot
- Statistics are correct to the end of round 17, 2016
|Totals||Averages (per game)|
- "Selection 1:Jack Watts". MelbourneFC.com.au. Bigpond. 29 November 2008. Retrieved 28 April 2009.
- Edmund, Sam (15 November 2008). "Jack of all trades, master of one". Herald Sun (News Corp Australia). Retrieved 2 December 2008.
- Quayle, Emma (24 November 2008). "Picks of the draft: Jack Watts". The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 2 December 2008.
- Stevens, Mark (1 December 2008). "Behind the scenes with the Demons on draft day". Herald Sun (News Corp Australia). Retrieved 1 June 2010.
- Ralph, Jon (2 December 2008). "Jack Watts goes from No.1 to No.4". Herald Sun (News Corp Australia). Retrieved 2 December 2008.
- Boulton, Martin (4 June 2009). "Dees No.1 draft pick ready". The Age (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 7 June 2009.
- Ralph, Jon (7 February 2014). "Paul Roos says he was 'appalled' by Jack Watts debut and says that won't happen again". Herald Sun. Retrieved 1 January 2016.
- Nicholson, Rod (6 June 2012). "Jack Watts on the way forward after a switch to defence". Herald Sun (News Corp Australia). Retrieved 8 June 2013.
- Cherny, Daniel (4 September 2015). "Jack Watts dropped again by Melbourne". The Afe. Retrieved 1 January 2016.
- "Jack Watts". AFL Tables.