Darley’s Jake Edwards will reignite his VFL playing career this season.
The 28-year-old was among one of the first signings to Geelong’s VFL list for 2016. Edwards has spent the past four years as a devil in the BFL, taking out the Henderson Medal in the league’s 2013 best and fairest and playing a part in Darley’s premiership victory in 2015.
The key position player said he didn’t expect to miss top-level footy when he started pre-season in Geelong, however was now looking forward to the opportunity.
“Honestly, I am very very excited. It is also a little bit daunting as I feel like I am learning the game again, given that I have been out of this level for about five years. The playing group is so young and there is a lot of talent here, so I can see the club themselves having a pretty successful year and that in itself is very exciting,” he said.
As a teenager, Edwards played TAC Cup football with the Western Jets and was selected in the 2005 AFL National Draft by the Carlton Football Club. He made his senior debut in the opening game of the 2008 season against Richmond, and played five games for the season before being delisted in 2009.
Edwards played 14 games with Carlton’s VFL-affiliate the Northern Bullants, before playing for Darley alongside his brother Jarrod in 2010.
“Darley has been absolutely tremendous. Ever since I announced that I made the sign back to Geelong it has been quite overwhelming. The response from everyone in the club has been so supportive and I wouldn’t expect anything less,” he said.
“Over the last four to five years the club has really changed. I think Darley used to have a bit of a reputation of having a blue collar-type, hard edge; but we’ve noticed that over the last three or so years there has been a much bigger focus on not only recruiting good footballers, but also good people. This has gone a long way in changing the culture to what is now very much a family club. I think there are more kids running around than adults and that is sensational, the club is sensational”.
Edwards said although he was unsure of his career in footy, he was looking forward to bringing a bit of experience to Geelong.
“There is a lot of raw and good talent down there. Having a bit of AFL experience, and being one of the oldest people there, I think I will be able to add more of a leadership role to the team; during training I hope to give as much input as I can, whilst also performing on the field”.
“I don’t want to look too far forward, I have been strongly focused on this year and getting this contract across the line. If I was to continue playing long into the future it would depend on my body, even this level of training over the last four months is very demanding”.