Jones in touch with best
WHEN Nathan Jones started playing touch football in Ballina as a 13-year-old, little did he know he would one day be ranked number one touch player in Australia and become vice-captain of the Australian team.
Jones, now based on the Gold Coast and playing for the Gold Coast Sharks, Lismore and Australia, said he found out about his new role ‘about a week ago’.
“It was a bit of a surprise, and my family was very proud of me,” he said. “They’ve helped me out a lot and have been very supportive.”
Jones took up the sport because his dad played, and was selected for a Ballina team after attending a development camp.
“I mainly played because a lot of my friends did, and I started down in Ballina and went to Lismore a couple of years later,” he said.
He made his way up through the ranks with the help of ‘Mook’ Harrington, and was selected for representative teams.
Jones then joined the Sharks and later the mixed Australian touch football team.
He joined the Australian men’s team in 2006.
“When I was about 16 or 17 getting into the Australian team was one of my goals,” he said.
The next few years, Jones said, required ‘lots of training, lots of money and lots of help from my family’.
Since then Jones has played 17 games for the Australian side – 14 at the World Cup in South Africa and three in a trans-Tasman challenge.
Now, the 28-year-old is gearing up for another trans-Tasman championship in New Zealand in January.
“We’re a young team, but we should be fine,” Jones said of Australia’s prospects against the Kiwis.