TUESDAY afternoon saw Melbourne’s secure one of its star youngsters, to the delight of the Demon faithful.

Jacob van Rooyen showed his commitment to the red and blue, signing a contract extension to remain at the club until at least the end of 2029.

The young Demon has seen a quick ascension to fan-favourite status, the key forward debuting in 2023 and going on to finish the season with 28 goals from 20 games.

As an opportunity for van Rooyen to reflect on the exciting future ahead for him, he sat down with his forward line coach Greg Stafford….

Greg Stafford x Jacob van Rooyen | A sit down chat


Stafford: Well mate, we usually sit down and have a look at some clips from the game the week before, but today's a bit different. We're here to talk about you, and what you've been able to secure for yourself and your family, which is really exciting.

So, firstly mate, congratulations. I’m really rapt for you. When you did the signing of the contract, who was the first person you called?

Van Rooyen: So, I’ve been in talks with obviously my manager, and he sees it all through, but then it would’ve been my dad.

He’s been there every step of the way, and he's the one that likes to know what's going on,, so dad was the first person.

Stafford: And when you told him, what was his reaction?

Van Rooyen: Oh, it was probably not as big as I would have expected [laughter]. He’s been a part of it every step of the way.

Every back and forth we have between the club, he's always a part of, which is good, so he can stay up to date. So, he kind of knew what was going on, but yeah, he was very happy.

Stafford: Oh, that's awesome.

Okay, so you've signed the contract now, are you one that thinks, “oh, I might go out and buy myself something,” or are you pretty level-headed? Because you are a bit of an old head on young shoulders. So, what are you thinking?

Van Rooyen: It’s a bit of security now and hopefully just being able to use that to set myself up as much as possible going forward.

So, no, I don't think I'll be out going to buy a big brand new car or anything like that, I think I'll try be as smart as I can with that money.

Stafford: I've seen some of the kits you get around in, and I'll be honest with you, they’re pretty average. Do you think maybe a new wardrobe might be in line? [laughter].

Van Rooyen: I think that's up to people's opinions [laughter]. I've got some good feedback on some of my kits. I think I’m just moving with the times, and you might be stuck back in your day [laughter].

Stafford: Probably mate [laughter]. So, it’s really exciting, the club’s very lucky to have you. Where do you see your game right now and where do you want to take it?

Van Rooyen: I’m obviously still young and growing and developing, but that's part of it. And I'm just trying to learn every day.

Learning from the different experiences I’m given and the opportunities. So, when I'm playing forward, if I'm the sole key forward, using that, or if I've got other ones around me, trying to take an opportunity to work on my game.

But also, then when I'm helping out Gawny in the ruck, using that and seeing that as an opportunity for me to learn and get better, because I think all of it is good experience and a good way for me to learn and get better.

Stafford: From the moment you walked in, I sort of looked at you and I thought, you're a pretty special character. I know that I've said this to you a lot. I think you're pretty special person. Where do you want to see this club? And what do you think your role is going to be in that going forward?

Van Rooyen: Obviously I see this club and see it very highly going forward. And I think that's making finals and winning finals and in the end, hopefully winning premierships.

And then for myself, how can I be a part of that? Be another cog in the big, big scheme of things. I know that's a metaphor you like to use [laughter].

If I can do what I can to help and I see myself going forward as a leader of this club, like I'm young, but I don't think that's a reason for me not to try and aspire to be a leader.

Stafford: We’ve got a really tight forward line, as you know, and you're a huge part of that. Who do you sort of like working in conjunction with on game day?

Van Rooyen: We’re all really good, both the power and speed forwards, I think we've got a good connection going there.

Like whether it is us helping out the speed forwards or the power forwards working together to help each other out, but I think someone who I usually play my best footy with is Harry Petty. Like I see us going forward, going a long way. We're both young and he's a great teammate, great person to play with.