Jake Melksham

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Jake Melksham
Jake Melksham 18.02.17 (2).jpg
Melksham warming up prior to a pre-season match in February 2017
Personal information
Full name Jake Melksham
Date of birth (1991-08-29) 29 August 1991 (age 25)
Original team(s) Calder Cannons (TAC Cup)
Draft No. 10, 2009 national draft
Debut Round 3, 2010, Essendon
vs. Carlton, at MCG
Height / weight 186 cm / 82 kg
Position(s) Midfielder
Club information
Current club Melbourne
Number 18
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
2010–2015 Essendon 114 (57)
2016– Melbourne 000 0(0)
Total 114 (57)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 2016.
Career highlights
Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com

Jake Melksham (born 29 August 1991) is a professional Australian rules footballer with the Melbourne Football Club in the Australian Football League (AFL). A midfielder, 1.86 metres (6.1 ft) tall and weighing 82 kilograms (181 lb), Melksham also has the ability to play as a defender, primarily as a half-back flanker. Growing up in Glenroy, Victoria, he played top-level football early when he joined the Calder Cannons' under 18 side in the TAC Cup at the age of sixteen. He spent three years playing for the Calder Cannons, winning a premiership in his final junior year. His achievements as a junior include state representation and the TAC Medal as the best player on the ground in the TAC Cup Grand Final.

Melksham's late surge in his draft year saw him recruited by the Essendon Football Club with the tenth selection in the 2009 AFL draft. He made his AFL debut in the 2010 season and was rewarded with an AFL Rising Star nomination. He spent six seasons with Essendon, which peaked with a fifth-place finish in the best and fairest, and after 114 games with the club, he was traded to the Melbourne Football Club during the 2015 trade period. Before he could play his first match with Melbourne, he was suspended for the 2016 season for his involvement in the Essendon Football Club supplements saga.

Early life[edit]

Melksham grew up in Windy Hill in Glenroy, Victoria;[1] as a junior, he played for the Oak Park Football Club in the Essendon District Football League,[2] and attended Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School.[3] Joining the Calder Cannons under 18 side in the TAC Cup as a bottom-aged player in 2007 at sixteen years of age, a bout of osteitis pubis set in towards the end of the year, which hampered his summer training and saw him miss several games during the 2008 season.[4] In 2008, he was rewarded with a scholarship within the prestigious AIS-AFL Academy as part of their eleventh intake.[5]

Melksham spent his final year as a junior playing for the Calder Cannons, which saw the club win their fifth premiership when they defeated the Dandenong Stringrays by fourteen points in the grand final.[6] His performance in the grand final saw him adjudged the best on ground and he was awarded the TAC Medal after he recorded twenty-four disposals and seven inside-50s.[7] He received mid-year state honours when he represented Vic Metro in the 2009 AFL Under 18 Championships and prior to the start of the competition he was labelled by The Age journalist, Emma Quayle, as one of the "players to watch" during the championships.[8] He averaged eighteen disposals during the championships and ranked second overall for Vic Metro in clearances and score assists, behind eventual number one draft pick, Tom Scully.[9] After a slow start to the year, he had a strong finish to the year,[10][11] which elevated his draft chances to inside the top ten.[12] Furthermore, AFL talent manager, Kevin Sheehan likened him to St Kilda player and three-time All-Australian, Lenny Hayes.[13]

AFL career[edit]

2010–2012: Early career[edit]

Melksham was recruited by the Essendon Football Club with their first selection and tenth overall in the 2009 national draft.[14] The Age journalist, Will Brodie, predicted he would debut and play in the midfield early in the season[15] and he made his debut in the twenty point win against Carlton at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in round three.[16] He played the next two matches before he was omitted for the round six match against Hawthorn at the Melbourne Cricket Ground;[17] he returned the next week for the three point loss against Port Adelaide at Etihad Stadium where he kicked his first AFL goal.[18] He was rewarded with the round eight nomination in the AFL Rising Star after he recorded fourteen possessions, three clearances, three tackles and a goal in the twelve point win against St Kilda at Etihad Stadium.[19] He missed the round ten match against the Western Bulldogs[20] after he sprained his ankle during the thirty-five point win against Richmond the week before,[21] he returned the next week for the nine point loss against Sydney at the Sydney Cricket Ground.[22] He played the next four out of five matches, missing the round fifteen match against Melbourne due to being rested,[23] before he was dropped for the round seventeen match against North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium.[24] He played the next three weeks in the Victorian Football League (VFL) for Essendon's affiliate team, the Bendigo Bombers,[25] before returning to the senior side in round twenty for the ninety-eight point loss against Collingwood at the Melbourne Cricket Ground[26] and he played the remainder of the year to finish with fourteen matches for the season.[27] Despite being drafted as a midfielder, he played the majority of the season on the half-back flank[28] and struggled for continuity as he played no more than four matches consecutively at a time.[29]

Incoming coach, James Hird earmarked a greater role in the midfield for Melksham during the 2011 season[30] and he performed strongly in the midfield during the 2011 NAB Cup with The Age reporter, Michael Gleeson noting Melksham would have a bigger impact on the field in 2011 compared to his debut year.[31] He went onto play every match during the season and was praised for his performances in the midfield by many in the industry, some of which were former player, Garry Lyon,[32] and journalists, Ashley Porter and Martin Blake.[33][34] In round fifteen, he kicked the match-winning goal in Essendon's four-point win against the previously undefeated Geelong at Etihad Stadium and was named best on ground,[35] earning three Brownlow votes for the first time in his career.[27] He played his first final in the sixty-two point loss against Carlton in the first elimination final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.[36] At the end of the season he was noted as an emerging leader of the club by Herald Sun journalist, Sam Edmund.[37]

After a strong pre-season,[38][39] Melksham had strong form during the 2012 NAB Cup, which led to former Essendon player and The Age journalist, Matthew Lloyd naming Melksham as one of the players who would have a breakout season.[40] After the club had an outstanding start to the season where the team won eight out of nine matches, with the only loss being one point to Collingwood in the Anzac Day clash; hype surrounding the club was immense with 1987 premiership coach, Robert Walls denoting the club could win a premiership, indicating the improvement of the players, especially Melksham, was one of the reasons for a potential flag.[41] Garry Lyon also noted the improvement of Melksham as one of the reasons for Essendon's strong start to the season,[42] along with The Age journalist, Martin Flanagan, praising Melksham and his contribution to the clubs fortunes.[43] After round nine, the club lost ten of the final thirteen matches, including the final seven to finish outside of the top eight; the decline in the teams' performance saw Melksham's form dip as well, with The Age journalist, Rohan Connolly stating Melksham's development had "stalled".[44] Despite being one of two players to play every match during the season, he failed to finish inside the top ten in the club best and fairest.[45]

2013–2015: Top five best and fairest finish then inconsistency[edit]

The first intra-club match during the 2013 pre-season saw Melksham break his hand, which required surgery,[46] he managed to return for the NAB Cup, playing his first match in round two.[47] He played the first four matches of the season before he was omitted for the Anzac Day match against Collingwood in round five,[48] he played in the VFL that weekend for Essendon's reserves side in the thirty-five point win against North Ballarat and was named in the best players,[49] which saw him return to the senior side for the thirty-nine point win against Greater Western Sydney at Etihad Stadium in round six.[50] He found himself in trouble when he was reported for rough conduct against Jarryd Roughead during the fifty-six point loss against Hawthorn at Etihad Stadium in round eighteen,[51] he subsequently received a reprimand from the match review panel.[52] An incident during the final round match against Richmond saw him receive a two-match suspension for striking Daniel Jackson.[53] He played twenty-one matches for the year with The Age journalist, Rohan Connolly stating his form had improved from the previous year;[54] this was reflected in his fifth-place finish in the club best and fairest count.[55] He was also rewarded with a two-year contract extension, tying him to the club until the end of the 2015 season.[56]

Melksham during a pre-season match in February 2017

After missing the first two matches of the 2014 season through suspension, Melksham played his first match of the year in the eighty-one point win against Carlton at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in round three.[57] Playing a role in both the midfield and the back-line,[58][59] Melksham played every match up to the sixty-four point win against Collingwood at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in round seventeen; a drop in form throughout the year[60] saw Melksham dropped for the round eighteen match against the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium.[61] After playing one match in the VFL, he returned for the eighteen point loss against Richmond at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in round twenty,[62] and played the next week in the three point win against West Coast at Etihad Stadium where he was substituted out of the match during the third quarter.[63] He was omitted the next week for the match against Gold Coast at Etihad Stadium[64] and missed the remainder of the year to finish with sixteen matches in total.[27]

Melksham played the first thirteen matches of the 2015 season, including his 100th AFL match in round four in the Anzac Day clash against Collingwood at the Melbourne Cricket Ground,[65] before missing the round fifteen match against Melbourne at the Melbourne Cricket Ground due to a hamstring injury sustained at training.[66] He returned for the eighty-seven point loss to the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium in round eighteen,[67] however, he was forced to miss the next week and played in the VFL,[25] before returning for the 112 point loss against Adelaide at Etihad Stadium in round twenty,[68] and played the remainder of the year to finish with eighteen match for the season.[69] Although he missed four matches and had an inconsistent year, Melksham finished ninth in the club best and fairest count.[70] Falling out of contract at the end of the year, reports emerged at the end of the season that he was considering changing clubs despite Essendon offering him a two-year contract.[71] After 114 matches with Essendon, he announced in late September that he wanted to be traded from the club[72] and he was officially traded to the Melbourne Football Club in October during the trade period[73] on a four-year deal, linking him to the club until the end of the 2019 season.[74]

2016–present: Move to Melbourne and suspension[edit]

Citing his friendship with incoming coach, Simon Goodwin, as the key reason for his move to Melbourne, Melksham noted the opportunity for a fresh start as another reason for his move.[75] Melksham, along with 33 other Essendon players, was found guilty of using a banned performance-enhancing substance, thymosin beta-4, as part of Essendon's sports supplements program during the 2012 season. He and his teammates were initially found not guilty in March 2015 by the AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal,[76] however, a guilty verdict was returned in January 2016 after an appeal by the World Anti-Doping Agency. He was suspended for two years which, with backdating, ended in November 2016; as a result, he served approximately fourteen months of his suspension and missed the entire 2016 season.[77]

Statistics[edit]

Statistics are correct to the end of the 2016 season[27]
Legend
 G  Goals  B  Behinds  K  Kicks  H  Handballs  D  Disposals  M  Marks  T  Tackles
Season Team # Games G B K H D M T G B K H D M T
Totals Averages (per game)
2010 Essendon 17 14 6 7 120 88 208 43 34 0.4 0.5 9.7 6.3 14.9 3.1 2.4
2011 Essendon 17 23 6 8 240 145 385 94 78 0.3 0.4 10.4 6.3 16.7 4.1 3.4
2012 Essendon 17 22 14 13 215 112 327 90 50 0.6 0.6 9.8 5.1 14.9 4.1 2.3
2013 Essendon 17 21 16 12 246 165 411 97 58 0.8 0.6 11.7 7.9 19.6 4.6 2.8
2014 Essendon 17 16 8 4 125 124 249 61 38 0.5 0.3 7.8 7.8 15.6 3.8 2.4
2015 Essendon 17 18 7 8 171 125 296 66 56 0.4 0.4 9.5 6.9 16.4 3.7 3.1
2016 Melbourne 18 0
Career 114 57 52 1117 759 1876 451 314 0.5 0.5 9.8 6.7 16.5 4.0 2.8

References[edit]

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External links[edit]