This interview is proudly sponsored by
Local footy writer Todd Whelan catches up with the Devils in isolation for a series of interviews over the coming weeks – stay connected with the DFNC Facebook page to find out how the players are travelling….
Devil: Jake Edwards #11
BFNL Honours: Henderson Medal 2013
Recruited from: Carlton, Port Melb, Geelong
Games played (Darley): 120 (inc 2015 flag)
AFL support team: Geelong
Occupation: CEO @ OTLR
(TW): Fantastic year for you personally in front of goal in 2019, do you think playing permanent forward will extend your career?
(JE): I think it will, it’s a lot easier playing forward than it is back. I’ve still got plenty to offer and at 32 years old, the enjoyment levels playing forward have got a bit on running around ‘down back’!
(TW): How is your appetite for footy given the isolation?
(JE): Hungry as ever. You tend to take things for granted until they’re taken away. I’m itching to go, the break has been timely – an ideal mental freshen up you could say.
(TW): How is your body holding up, have you been doing any (fitness) work?
(JE): I think i’m doing enough. An 8km run today for example. I haven’t any niggles at the moment – i’m managing the body well – i’m not as young as I used to be!
(TW): Where does Darley need to improve on-field to pinch another flag sooner rather than later?
(JE): Well it’s fair to say we were outplayed in last years (Elimination) final and the Prelim before that (2018). We need to find 20% across the board on all lines if we are going to be a legitimate contender. Luther Baker, Jake Ancrum and Leigh Spiteri have shown what impact improvement from within can have on our team.
(TW): What advice would you give for the next generation of Devils talent to fast track their improvement to the point where they are having a significant influence on games?
(JE): Being aged 17-20 at Darley at the moment is a perfect opportunity. If getting better is what you want, you need to bring ‘it’ to training week in, week out. Your commitment leading into match day will tell the story of whether you can have that impact you speak of. If it’s something you really want, you can make it happen.
(TW): Your charity “Outside the Locker Room” focuses mainly on Mental Health. Without divulging too much, what impact is the absence of sport having on the wider community?
(JE): It’s quite significant. People are speaking openly about the missing connection in their lives without sport, especially the face-to-face interaction and mental relief that being a part of any club in the community provides. It’s considered by many as crucial to them having a balanced lifestyle.
(TW): I saw you and ‘Dipper’ posted on-line recently hosting a show. I’ve heard ‘Dipper’ is renowned for donating his time – what other AFL greats or celebrities in general have surprised you with their generosity to the cause (OTLR)?
(JE): There has been a host of willing volunteers donate their time – more recently John Platten, John Patton, Max Gawn and soon James Hird. And of course we couldn’t function without the financial support and generosity of Energy Australia, Volvo and the Epic Good Foundation especially.
(TW): Back to your footy – any truth in the rumour that your Henderson Medal winning season back in 2013 wasn’t your best year in Darley colours?
(JE): Ah, interesting you mention that. I reckon there’s quite a bit of truth in your theory. Rod MacPherson and I would agree that 2012 season was probably better for me.
(TW): For the record, which current Darley player would more likely hit you ‘laces out’ on a lead out from the goal square?
(JE): With the Graham brothers gone, i’d say Leigh Spiteri – he knows where to put the ball.
(TW): If footy wasn’t your first choice, what other sport would we have been watching you play at a high level?
(JE): Cricket. As a junior I had to choose between one or the other.
(TW): Finally, what are you missing most about the absence of footy?
(JE): Just being around the group and match day especially. Footy always leaves you feeling better.
(TW): To learn more about Jake’s charity visit www.otlr.org.au