MELBOURNE veteran Nathan Jones will be pulling on the red and blue for a 15th season in 2020, after signing a one-year contract extension with the club.
The 31-year-old played all 22 games this season and has agreed to terms to continue his decorated career with the Dees.
“Of course, I’m very happy to continue to play for this great club – I plan on playing for as long as I can,” Jones told Melbourne Media.
“This year was extremely disappointing, the most difficult of my career I would say – we failed under expectation. It was a steep learning curve for everyone involved.
“Even at my age and experience, we were taught many great lessons of what it’ll take to be a great team. The game doesn’t owe you anything.
“For that alone, I see reason for great optimism. We face some challenging times ahead with what it takes to get back to our best, but with that, has presented great opportunity for everyone here.”
Jones has been a stalwart of the club since debuting in 2006, winning three best and fairest awards and captaining the Demons since 2014.
While there has been speculation around Jones’ future after a difficult season, he won’t be leaving the place he has called home since his teenage years.
“Personally, I weighed up a lot, and eventually found some perspective,” he said.
“Playing multiple roles all year and having a really injury interrupted prep before the season, I managed to get through the year.
“I’m very real about where I’m at with my age and form, but ultimately I still feel I have plenty of good footy in me and add value to the club and team when I do so.
“Pre-season will be more important than ever for me, but that challenge really excites me to drive myself and the group back to playing like the team we are capable of.”
Jones has played 286 games for the Dees, and after enduring some tough times throughout his career, he has been a massive part of the club’s resurgence in recent years.
“This year gave me great perspective,” he said.
“Like anyone who is so totally invested in the club, from staff, coaches, players, most importantly our members, it hurts, it burns.
“But this isn’t like what I’ve seen in the past, at all.
“I see this year as a part of the journey on where we want to get to as a club.
“Maybe it’s what needed to happen for us to improve. It’s been lineal improvement year on year for four to five years now. This year we took a hit, a big one, but one that makes everyone internally reflect and get a true indication on what it is going to take to get to the level we long for.
“I’m positive we will find our way back.”