Jones: I got by through desperation
Liam Jones admits his transformation into a key defender for Carlton last season wasn't as seemless as it looked.
The Tasmanian had a great campaign for the Blues, securing a new two-year deal in mid-season.
But he'd started the year with in a state of uncertainty about his place at the club given that he'd only kicked 16 goals from his 17 games in the first two years of his three-year contract.
The 26-year-old trained throughout pre-season with the forwards group, only to be told on the eve of the VFL campaign that he'd be tried as a defender in round one with Northern Blues.
He grabbed his chance, showing in a match-up with demoted St Kilda spearhead Josh Bruce that he could fill the role well. Jones held Bruce to one goal while racking up 30 possessions and 15 marks himself.
When Sam Rowe suffered a season-ending knee injury it opened up a spot in the senior team and Jones earned a recall for the Blues' round 12 clash against Greater Western Sydney.
He went on to play in Carlton's final 12 games of the season, taking on and beating star spearheads such as Jonathon Patton, Gold Coast's Tom Lynch, Taylor Walker, Jesse Hogan and Jarryd Roughead.
Jones, though, says he largely got by on natural instinct and the direction of fellow Blues defenders such as Sam Docherty, Kade Simpson, Lachie Plowman and Caleb Marchbank.
"There were some positive things, which I picked up quite well, but every game there were a lot of RFIs ('room for improvements')," he added.
"My mindset coming back there was just to go 100 per cent at everything because if my bloke marks it he's probably having a shot at goal. So my thinking back there was just to be as desperate as I could be and just to do everything that I could to save a score.
"I got to places through just desperation and trying to sprint, just working really hard. But if I work a little bit smarter and have smarter positioning, I'm not having to bust my boiler and absolutely go flat out for things; smarter positioning will help me defend better, I reckon."
Carlton are 80/1 to win the 2018 Grand Final.
The Blues are 4/1 to finish in the top eight.
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