Highly rated forward Arthur Jones to make long-awaited AFL debut for Western Bulldogs

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Western Bulldogs youngster Arthur Jones will make his AFL debut on Thursday night.
Camera IconWestern Bulldogs youngster Arthur Jones will make his AFL debut on Thursday night. Credit: Daniel Pockett/AFL Photos/via Getty Images

Mt Barker product Arthur Jones will make his long-awaited AFL debut after the Western Bulldogs announced on Tuesday the highly rated forward will play against Brisbane on Thursday night.

Jones was taken by the Bulldogs with their first selection in the 2021 national draft, pick no.43, but has spent the year and half biding his time in the VFL program.

The speedy forward was closing in on a debut in the opening round before being sidelined with a groin injury.

Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge embraces debutant Arthur Jones.
Camera IconBulldogs coach Luke Beveridge embraces debutant Arthur Jones. Credit: Western Bulldogs

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The 19-year-old was told of the news at the Bulldogs team meeting on Tuesday by development coach Travis Varcoe before he was mobbed by teammates.

A shocked Jones stood up in front of his teammates, saying he was thrilled to be given the chance at AFL level.

It’s a really exciting moment for me and my family, but also for the club,

“It’s a bit hard to put into words. It’s a great moment — when you work at something for so long.

“I had a massive preseason and just before round one tweaked my groin, so to have a speedy recovery and have all the boys see the work I’ve put in — to finally get this one thing that I’ve wanted so bad, is kind of an emotional moment.

Western Bulldogs AFL draftee Arthur Jones at Claremont Football Club.  l-r) Taimania Jones, Alex Duke (8 Months), Joshua Kelly (3 yo), Jasmyne Jones, Arthur Jones, Margie Coyne Jones, Margie Jones, Arthur Jones. [CAPTIONS AND NAMES CORRECT]
Camera IconArthur Jones with his proud family after being drafted to the Bulldogs. Credit: Simon Santi/The West Australian

“Hopefully I can make the red, white and blue as proud as they can be.”

He made an emotional phone call to his mum Margie not long after the news, captured by the Bulldogs.

Close friend Jamarra Ugle-Hagan also presented Jones with the No.32 jumper that he will wear in his first AFL game.

“No one knows what you’ve been through and how you’ve gone through this journey and that’s why it means so much to you because no one has been through your footsteps,” Ugle-Hagan said in front of the playing group.

“A young boy from WA, a Mt Barker boy.

“Just do your family proud and your mob, play for your people and go out there and have fun mate.

“Hopefully go out there and get the (win) against Brisbane.”

Jones will run out for the Bulldogs in their showdown with the Lions at Marvel Stadium on Thursday as they try to avoid a third straight defeat to start the new season.

After playing for Mt Barker as a youngster in the Great Southern Football League, Jones moved to Perth for boarding school and shone for Wesley College in the PSA competition and also with Claremont in the WAFL.

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