89. Peter Jones

89. Peter JonesLEGEND – Player Inductee

North Hobart/Carlton, Ruckman/Forward, 1963-1980

Carlton senior premierships, 1968, 1970, 1972 and 1979
Carlton Best and Fairest (John Nicholls Medal), 1973
Carlton Best Clubman (Bert Deacon Trophy), 1978
Coached Carlton, 1980
Represented Victoria against Tasmania in 1977 at North Hobart Oval
Debuted for North Hobart in 1963
Represented the TFL in intrastate series, 1964-65
Represented Tasmania three times, 1965
North Hobart Team of the Century, 2000
Tasmania Team of the Century, 2004

Peter Jones is known universally in football as ‘Percy’. A giant ruckman of his era at 198cm and more than 100kg, he was recruited by Carlton from North Hobart in late 1965 and proceeded to play 249 senior games for the Blues including four premierships.

Jones was a classic ruckman-cum-forward who contested stoppages around the ground and then moved to the forward pocket to become a goal-kicking option when resting. This was the standard approach to using tall ruckmen in the time before the interchange system was established in the late 1970s.

The high point of Jones’ personal playing career came in 1973 when he won the Carlton senior best and fairest award. He will long be remembered, however, for the controversy and anecdotes that marked every turn of his career, and the fact that he contributed to the Blues’ most productive golden era.

As well as playing in 23 finals matches he played in the four famous premierships in:
• 1968 – the first premiership under Ron Barassi when the Blues scored fewer goals than Essendon to win by a narrow margin.
• 1970 – when the Blues defeated Collingwood in what is arguably the most famous come-from-behind victory in grand final history.
• 1972 – when the underdog Blues kicked a record high score for a grand final and Jones carried the ruck work in one of his finest games.
• 1979 – the mud-bath against Collingwood where the Blues were captained-coached by Alex Jesaulenko and famously scored a late goal through the inspired and controversial tap-in by Wayne Harmes.

Peter Jones was initially approached by Richmond to play for the Tigers in 1967, but Carlton officials swooped shortly after and promised that if he came over to Victoria immediately they would play him in 1966. This worked well for Jones because his grandmother lived in St Kilda, so he made the move and took up employment in the public service alongside another Carlton player, Adrian Gallagher.

However, Jones nearly died in a very serious car accident in pre-season 1966 before he could make his debut. He was a passenger in the vehicle and suffered extremely serious skull, facial and eye-socket injuries, nearly losing an eye, badly breaking his nose and breaking both ankles. He was not fit enough to play his first senior match for Carlton until Round 16 of that year.

At the beginning of his career, Jones served a long apprenticeship to the super-competitive Blues legend John Nicholls. Much of his early career was spent forward in an era when there was no interchange off the bench. However, as Nicholls’ career came to an end in the early 1970s, Jones developed into one of the most talented, exuberant and reliable ruckmen who had ever played for Carlton.

When combining all senior games at North Hobart, the Tasmanian Football League, Tasmania and Victoria, Jones achieved over 300 senior games of football. Additionally, having represented Tasmania early in his career, he played a further representative game for Victoria in 1977, making him one of a select group who has played for more than one state.

Following the resignation of 1979 premiership coach Alex Jesaulenko due to an internal dispute at Carlton, Peter Jones was appointed coach. Although the team performed well during the regular season they were unable to make an impact during the finals series. Carlton chose to appoint David Parkin in place of Jones for the 1981 season. Jones held no grudge, and served for many years on the Carlton Committee.

Jones was selected in the North Hobart and Tasmania Teams of the Century and was an inaugural inductee in the Tasmanian Football Hall of Fame in 2005.