My heart broke the day Jobe took it upon himself to hand back his Brownlow medal. In 2012, Jobe was the best and fairest player in the league. Hands down. Nobody can begrudge him that. He polled 4 more votes that year than the next placed players. He played that year in Essendon side that fell away dramatically in the back of the season. The bombers had 8 wins and 1 loss after round nine, and that can be attributed to one bloke. One bloke who played the game in a charismatic way. Jobe Watson. Watson was the workhouse in a bombers team that was on the verge of something big. We could sense it. He led the team in a way that anyone would ask of their captain. His skill levels were polished, and he played hard and extremely fair.
That Monday before Grand Final day, Jobe was rightly awarded the game’s best and fairest award. The games highest individual honour. The Brownlow Medal. Deservedly, Jobe accepted the award with the grace in which he plays the game. He sipped his champagne and was toasted as the AFL’s best player.
Jobe, the son of Essendon champion Tim, has been the best player to don the sash since James Hird. There is no doubting that. The way in which he handled the media speculation and the spotlight in the wake of the Supplements saga was nothing short of outstanding. Jobe further endeared himself to 100’s of thousands of Essendon supporters throughout that extremely tough period. He was unnecessarily booed relentlessly throughout almost every match and still fronted the media and carried the club on his shoulders through its darkest days.
Fast forward to January 2016, the Court of Arbitration for Sport handed down its findings on the “Essendon 34”. Still a contentious decision in my mind, they deemed that the 34 Essendon players were to miss the entire 2016 season after “using illegal substances”. Let’s keep things in perspective; The bomber players never actually tested positive to the use of any supplement(s). and still to this day, the players, the coaching staff at the time or we supporters do not have any idea what exactly these men were injected with. The decision was purely based on some very tenuous links to some very dodgy individuals.
Jobe went away to the USA and learnt how to make some coffee’s over the following months after the decision was handed down. He came back amidst further media speculation on his career, and whether he had a future in the game. To my delight, he had decided to go on and play in season 2017 and hand over the captaincy so that he could just focus on playing footy again.
That period of time – from Feb 2013 right through until hours before the Round 1 game versus the Hawks earlier this year, was easily the toughest period of my life as a passionate EFC supporter. In my mind, there was two shining lights in that time. The resilience and fortitude shown by our playing group amid unprecedented pressure, and; Jobe. They way in which he carried himself week-in and week-out, both on the park and in front of the media was nothing short of exemplary. Prior to the saga, Jobe was the sort of bloke I really wanted to have a beer with. To this day, I would still very much love to have a beer with this outstanding man.
Jobe faces the retirement conundrum once again. Should he go on for another year? I write today to implore Jobe to go around for one more season. Our footy club is on the verge of doing something very special, and I really want to see Jobe be a part of it. It looks as though the door has been pretty much been shut on our finals chances this season – but next season promises to be BIG. Please Jobe, you deserve a premiership more than anyone. Do it for yourself. You will always be an Essendon champion and Brownlow winner in my mind. All you need now, is the premiership to go with it. You’re a genuine bloke, who deserves the best possible way to end your career. You have one more in you, I know you do!