The weight of expectation of merely being born the son of Essendon legend, Tim Watson, who played 307 games for the club, a 3 time premiership & 4 time best and fairest winner was obvious. My family and I were there the night Sheeds gifted Jobe, the then puppy fat 18 year old, his debut in 2003 against Geelong. I could see and sense the excitement in not only my nearest and dearest eyes but all the faithful there that night watching the ‘son of Tim’ and cheering every one of his two handball possessions that night. Who knew what was to lie ahead….
To know where you’re headed you have to know where you’re from. We the faithful are extremely privileged to watch the bloodiness of champions past run around today and in the enviable position to be able to do so into the future. Sometimes we are quick to forget the pressure theses bloodlines are under to perform week in week out. We were all very quick to compare Jobe to Tim and point out his limitations. To Jobe’s credit he turned his limitations into his greatest strengths, becoming a strong-bodied midfielder with clean hands, an elite handballing ability who won the games highest individual honor the Brownlow medal.
What I love about Jobe and will continue to speak to long after his last game is he goes in and wins the football. Too often the modern day 24/7 news cycle needs to be filled, including describing players as champions who are merely playing loose in defence or on the outside of the clearances collecting easy possessions. The game is played and won at the clearances. This is where Jobe excelled and lead Essendon for the best part of a decade, not always under ideal circumstances… who could forget the then Bombers captain playing his first game since his public admission to taking a potentially banned drug in Perth and being booed, ironically Jobe finished with 29 possessions and kicked two goals and was instrumental in the dying helping Essendon win by seven points. Leadership & strength in character.
These traits have been displayed by Jobe as much off the field where he captained the club throughout the enormity of what happened during the AFL-ASADA probe into our great club, the unprecedented AFL territory Jobe and the club were in are not to be underestimated. Also, the impact of the death of his cousin, Jake, who died on the field for West Adelaide as an 18-year-old. After the Brownlow win Jobe reflected on the many summers together kicking the footy with Jake’s and was quoted as saying the win was even more special to his family after they endured tragedy back in 2002.
It is hard to believe Jobe played just eight games in his first three seasons at the club, most of them as a forward. During those first 3 years everyone was raving about Luke Ball…. does anyone remember him? The only way you will is by getting a copy of the 2009 round 20 clash between Essendon and St Kilda. Throughout the game Ball / St Kilda paid little respect to Watson and were toweled up, Jobe finishing with 37 disposals, the game-high by 10 touches. More to the point his stats included 15 contested balls and four centre clearances which set the standard.
Like his dad, Jobe Watson is departing as one of Essendon’s most beloved sons and that for me is where the football similarities between the two end. In his own right Jobe is an exceptional footballer, capable of acts of immense skill and courage under the greatest pressure both on and off the field. A champion.
Jobe – thanks for the memories, go forth, enjoy retirement and have many sons.