MOVING from Perth to Melbourne comes with its challenges, as Luke Jackson would have discovered at the mere age of 18.
But after getting used to the weather, and life away from his family, the Demons’ youngster has learned to love the place he happily calls home.
And that’s largely on the back of the support from his teammates.
“The boys are great in helping me settle in,” Jackson told Melbourne Media.
“I’m settling into Melbourne really good, so it’s been great so far.”
Jackson, a highly touted junior with a basketball background, was selected with pick No.3 in the 2019 National Draft and faced with the daunting move across the country.
But that transition became a little smoother when the club read out his best mate’s name, 29 selections later.
“Obviously I’ve got Trent (Rivers) here that came to the club as well which made it a lot easier,” Jackson said.
“I’m definitely settling in great, and I love where I live as well.”
The duo from East Fremantle have been based together for the entirety of their AFL journey, under the roof of Angus Brayshaw’s parents.
And in recent weeks, that arrangement has grown by one, with the addition of Melbourne’s mid-season recruit, Daniel Turner.
“We all get along really good and there’s great banter in the house as well,” Jackson said.
“It couldn’t be better.”
While the 19-year-old has adapted to the Melbourne lifestyle with ease, his ability to slot seamlessly into the Dees’ best 22 may be most impressive.
After playing six games in his debut season – prior to being struck down with a hamstring injury – Jackson has taken his game up a notch in 2021.
Missing just one match due to a fractured finger, the two-time Rising Star nominee has had a big impact for his side, in more ways than one.
At 199cm, Jackson has kicked seven goals as a target up forward, while averaging 10 hit-outs per game in the ruck, giving his skipper, Max Gawn, a chop-out when needed.
Add to the mix his ability to win the ball at ground level, as demonstrated by that 21-disposal haul against the Magpies last start, and you’ve got yourself a serious weapon.
But it’s not just the coaches and support staff that have helped ‘Dogga’ reach new heights, it’s the spirit and culture this team has created.
“I love it – it’s a great vibe at the club at the moment,” he said.
“I think we’re thriving in the games as well because we’re all so close together, so we’ll keep that up for sure.”
Of course, Jackson is just 18 games into his young career, but it’s hard not to be excited by the direction this utility is headed.
Hear him delve into greater detail on his form, training habits and relationships below: