NATHAN Jones is adamant he will be a better captain in 2016, having learned plenty in a challenging first season as sole skipper.
Jones, who led the Demons with Jack Grimes in 2014, was the club’s only captain this year as Melbourne reverted back to one skipper for the first time since Brad Green led the team in 2011.
The 201-gamer said having had two years in the role – albeit in varying situations – would allow him to have a greater understanding of the key playing leadership role next year.
Although Jones’ pre-season will be impacted significantly by his neck injury, he said on the flipside, his setback will allow him to focus on building on his leadership qualities.
“I’m looking forward to next season. I think I’ll be in a far better position this time next year after some of the experiences I’ve had this year,” he told Dee TV.
“I’m really excited about next season … and with my neck [injury], I think it creates a lot of opportunity for me to really hone in on some real specifics for myself.
“It’ll give me a great opportunity and something I’ve probably never experienced before.”
Jones said he enjoyed captaining the side with Grimes in his first year, but 2015 made him step-up as a leader.
“The responsibilities when Jack and I shared it … particularly with appearances and media [made it easier]. The biggest load [as a sole captain] is having an awareness of the group and being able to address them at times,” he said.
“[I’ve got to] make sure I have a really clear understanding of the mood of the group and where everyone’s at. They’ve been the greatest responsibilities and adjustments I’ve had to make. It consumes more time and more energy, but I’ve really enjoyed my responsibilities as skipper this year.
“I’ve really grown in some areas that I probably never thought I could. It was a lot of fun and I’ve got a strong leadership group behind me as well, which has been terrific support.”
After winning three consecutive best and fairest awards, Jones had another fine year in 2015, finishing fifth in the Keith ‘Bluey’ Truscott Memorial Trophy.
But although pleased with his season, Jones said greater reliability in his performance was his aim for 2016.
“It’s been a huge learning year, juggling family, form and the responsibilities of being the skipper and whatever else comes with being an athlete. It’s been challenging at times, but I’ve been reasonably happy,” he said.
“I’ve probably played some of the better games of my career this season, but the consistency that I’m used to, I didn’t feel I had that, particularly off the back of last year.
“I was reasonably happy with how I went … but I found myself struggling at times with the tags and that’s something I’ll really work on over pre-season.”