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Jackson keen to make own mark

Alex Fitzgerald  November 29, 2017 9:35 AM

Jackson & Tyson Edwards The Crows latest father-son recruit Jackson Edwards, and his father, two time premiership winner Tyson speak about their journey.
It’s pretty special following in Dad’s footsteps

Adelaide may have secured home-grown product Jackson Edwards under the father-son rule in Monday’s NAB AFL Rookie Draft, but the son of 300-game champion Tyson is looking to forge his own path.

Despite the Crows having committed to taking the 18-year-old midfielder as a rookie after he was overlooked in last Friday’s AFL National Draft, Jackson admitted he found it hard to relax until his selection was confirmed.

“It’s pretty special following in Dad’s footsteps. I also get to stay home with the family. It was a bit of a stressful wait, but it’s all done now and I’m looking forward to it,” Jackson said.

“On Friday, I was a bit nervous leading into it (the national draft) and a little bit disappointed that I didn’t get picked up, but I’m thankful for the opportunity at Adelaide.

“It didn’t really bother me where I went as long as I got an opportunity somewhere, but I’m happy I’m here in Adelaide and get to stay with the family and Mum’s home-cooked meals.”

Tyson Edwards was all smiles as the start of his eldest son’s AFL journey was confirmed.

“I’m just rapt he’s got an opportunity. That’s what every kid wants when their dream is to play AFL, is just to get an opportunity and Jackson’s got one,” Tyson said.

“He doesn’t have to leave home, so mum isn’t in tears and doesn’t have to say goodbye to her boy.

“We know he’ll make the most of it (the opportunity).”

Tyson and Jackson Edwards at the Club on Monday

Jackson had a strong 2017 campaign, including a string of impressive performances at the NAB AFL Under-18 National Championships for South Australia and a senior debut for SANFL club Glenelg.

But the composed onballer is well aware of the effort it will take to make the next step having trained with the Crows last pre-season.

“I like to think I work pretty hard and leadership is something that I pride myself on,” he said.

“I’ll just be looking to do my role for the team, play some good footy for the team and hopefully we can have some success.

“I spent five weeks here last December/January during pre-season and did a bit of training.

“I didn’t really want to leave … but I enjoyed my time here, got to know the boys and really improved my football.”

Tyson believes his son is ready to step into an elite football system, lauding the mindset and mentality of the Crows’ newest addition.

“In the last few weeks, he’s been itching to get into pre-season,” Tyson said.

“His preparation and discipline stands out for me for a kid his age. What he does even now to get ready for a game or training is AFL standard in my eyes.

“I think he’ll settle into an AFL environment pretty easily.”

Jackson’s transition will be made smoother by the fact that he’ll step into the Club alongside South Australian Under-18 teammates Darcy Fogarty and Andrew McPherson.

Fogarty and McPherson were snapped up by the Crows in last Friday’s national draft.

“I played with Darcy throughout most state teams and I’ve played against Andy in junior footy and also alongside him at state level. It’s good to have them alongside me,” Jackson said.

Cousin and inaugural Adelaide father-son draftee Ben Jarman, son of Crows’ two-time premiership hero Darren, will also help Edwards to settle into his new routine at West Lakes.

Jarman, 19, finished fifth in the Club’s State League Club Champion award this season after being rookie-listed by the Crows last year.

“Benny went well this year. It’ll be great to play with him and, hopefully, maybe a younger brother in a few years but we’ll just wait and see what happens,” Jackson said.

While comparisons between father and son are inevitable, Tyson was swift in pointing out the individual differences between himself and Jackson.

“He’s his own player. He’s a bit different to me. He’s a bit taller … he took me over pretty quickly!” Tyson said.

“He’s a left-footer, so he just looks a bit different and he’s a bit more of a natural goalkicker.

“He’ll do his own thing and I’m sure he’ll do really well.”

Jackson was quick to recognise to the influence both parents have had on his career to-date.

“All through junior footy, Dad’s been a great mentor for me as well as mum, who also has a good sporting background,” Jackson said.

“They’ve taught me so much and it’s probably helped me get to where I am today.

“I was pretty lucky Dad played with Tex and Sloaney, so I have a bit of a connection with them which is good.”

“It’ll be pretty exciting running alongside some childhood heroes like Sloaney, Gibbs and Tex.”

Despite the connections to the Club, through both bloodline and proximity, Jackson is keen to be judged on his individual efforts and performances.

He’s keen to show he has plenty to offer at AFL level after being passed over in the NAB AFL Draft.

“I’ve got to earn the respect of the boys, work hard and see where it takes me.”

“I just want to try and prove people wrong and do my bit for the team.”