tmedia
Main content

Latest DEE TV

Jakovich reflects on time at Melbourne

Marc McGowan  October 20, 2017 2:00 PM

What unfolded in that season probably fuelled me to really get crackin'. It was a bit of a purple patch there, and that was fuelled by a lot of different emotions and … a want to succeed and kick some goals

ENIGMATIC former Melbourne genius Allen Jakovich has emerged from the football wilderness in an entertaining two-hour-plus interview on his extraordinary but brief career. 

Jakovich remains a fan favourite – even a mythical figure – for how he burst onto the AFL scene and left it almost as quickly with a failed stint at Footscray after sitting out the 1995 season.

The 49-year-old's final tallies read 54 games and 208 goals, including 47 and 201 for the Demons, with hamstring woes ensuring his brilliant stay at the top was all too short. 

Jakovich sat comfortably in what was the last great era for full-forwards, when Tony Lockett, Gary Ablett, Jason Dunstall and Tony Modra were kicking oodles of goals.

He played his first match for Melbourne as a 23-year-old in 1991, via Perth, Port Headland, Kalgoorlie, Darwin and Adelaide, and was the fastest AFL player to kick 50 career goals, in just nine games. 

Only the legendary John Coleman slotted 100 majors as swiftly as Jakovich's 21 matches. 

"It's just, I suppose, another of them famous stats, but when I look at it, if I was 18 or 19 years of age at that time and that happened at that age, I'd say it was a real great feat," Jakovich told the Demonland Podcast.

"But being 23 years of age, I'd had a fair bit of senior football under my belt with Woodville in the SANFL and also a bit of a stint up in Darwin, so I was pretty primed and ready to go. 

"What unfolded in that season probably fuelled me to really get crackin'. It was a bit of a purple patch there, and that was fuelled by a lot of different emotions and … a want to succeed and kick some goals."

Jakovich recounted the day he booted a career-high 11 goals – along with eight behinds and another out on the full – in a public mauling of a North Melbourne defence led by 300-gamer Mick Martyn. 

Martyn, a dual premiership player, was a rough and rugged full-back who thrived on grit and an acid tongue rather than natural talent, but was one of the best in those days. 

He warned Jakovich, the older brother of dual All Australian defender Glen, at the first bounce he would punch him "in the back of the head" if he considered going near the ball. 

"I never said too much until you let your goalkicking do the talking," Jakovich said.

"Once I was up and about and had kicked a couple, then I sort of let Micky know that day that, 'Look, mate, don't worry about punching me in the back of the head, I'm going to make you look like a clown today'. 

"The more I kicked, the quieter poor old Micky got, and it was quite funny, because I started to rev him up after I had about four or five.

"Every time I saw the North Melbourne runner … I kept reminding Micky that he was coming to get him very shortly and to, 'Lift your head Micky, he's coming to get you'." 

Jakovich was reported for abusive language towards an umpire that same afternoon at the MCG. It was one of four occasions in his AFL stint that he was fined or suspended. 

He never crossed paths with Martyn on a football field again, such was the blink-and-you'll-miss-it nature of his career. But they did bump into one another at a pub. 

"I promised him I'd give him another shot, but it wasn't to be," Jakovich said. 

"We had a beer and we had a bit of a laugh, but he had an incredible career – he was a great player for North."

Jakovich with Demons teammate David Schwarz. Picture: AFL Photos

Jakovich struggled to name his toughest opponent, requesting not to be taken the wrong way, but that "I sort of kicked goals on all of them". 

Judging by his following comments, Hawthorn defender Chris Langford was the one, but he wrote off Danny Frawley as "slow" – and whenever they clashed "it was always a good time for a bag".

Jakovich admired Stephen Silvagni's ability to be equally effective up forward as down back despite not being "overly skilled" and related to Mark Zanotti having "a few screws loose". 

He also had a feeling a then-young Mal Michael was destined for big things, which played out across 238 games and three premierships.

Jakovich went on to explain some of his complex character owed to a "me against the rest of the world" attitude after struggling emotionally with losing his father, Darko, at a young age. 

"He was instrumental in my life and it's hard to deal with that sort of loss," he said. 

"When it did get me down, there were a couple of times there, you might see on a few replays, I was probably the only bloke who wore a black armband one particular week.

"That helped me bring him along with me."