Liam Jones admits his uncertain status as an AFL player only a matter of seasons ago has forced him to fully appreciate his place at the Carlton Football Club.
The defender was elevated to the club’s leadership group on Monday having seemingly been on the outer during his first two seasons with the Blues.
Jones, 28, has become a vital player in navy blue over the past few years and after learning of his new leadership position, spoke of the gratefulness he feels having endured some tough times at the club which also included a serious concussion.
“There was a period in 2016 and 2017, my early days at Carlton, after Mick (Malthouse) got fired and the club was looking at a new coach and I wasn’t playing well,” he said on SEN’s Bob & Andy.
“I think it’s made me cherish every moment I’ve got in the game. To know that my contract was going to be ripped up and to be given the opportunity, I’m playing every game like it’s my last.
“Also with the concussion stuff that happened last year, I missed a couple of months, and there were some doubts over my playing future then. It’s something to be so grateful just to walk in the door.
“We’ve got the greatest job in the world and we get to run around and kick a footy for a living. That’s my mindset going forward.”
Jones also delved further into the concussion problems that plagued him last season, restricting him to just 13 games. The former Western Bulldogs forward revealed to Bob Murphy and Andy Maher that it was a struggle just to sit down at home.
“I couldn’t get up off the couch. When I’d get up from laying down or sitting down, it would just be like a tumble dryer and my head would just be spinning and the roof would be like a fan,” he added.
“I was just deadpan. I felt like I was on another planet, I couldn’t concentrate. I’d find myself at times just sitting in my room, not watching any TV or listening to music, I was sort of just staring at the wall.
“It took a good three weeks to start feeling some improvement. It was a pretty worrying time.
“I’d never really had a concussion like that before. I thought I could get up the next week and I was planning on doing so.
“Then the other element of catching up with all the specialists was for my footy future. Obviously it’s been my dream to play AFL football and when that’s in question, I was quite scared.
“I’m very thankful and grateful that I still get a chance to play footy.”
Jones and young guns Sam Walsh and Jacob Weitering have been voted into a seven-man leadership group alongside veterans Marc Murphy and Ed Curnow and co-captains Patrick Cripps and Sam Docherty.
Listen to Jones' chat with Bob & Andy below: