Driving lesson

The driving lesson that shaped the career of young Melbourne Demons player Jake Bowey

“I said, ‘You kidding yourself, you’re a mile away, your training habits are poor, whack, whack, whack. I think he was a little offended, a little surprised at first, but by the length of the straight from that point on he’s one of the best operators, coaches, his diligence in the way he has approached the game – a special child.

Jake Bowey in Perth on Monday. Credit:Getty Images

Demons echoes that same sentiment when it comes to explaining Bowey’s strong training philosophy and thirst for learning. It was a remarkable homecoming, as he only made his debut against the Gold Coast Suns in Round 20, this afternoon symbolizing the pandemic-hit 2020 and 21 seasons.

Bowey had to deal with the nervous energy felt by all starters, but in his case it stretched over two days as it was the weekend the Demons flew to Queensland for duty. back when the border closed, the match moved to Marvel Stadium. .

Coronavirus protocols meant Bowey’s family, including his father, Brett, the former St Kilda rover who played 85 games between 1988 and 1994, could not be in the dressing room and could only wish him well the best through Zoom.

Bowey handled the occasion well, moving into half-back and having 13 eliminations in a 98-point victory, although the post-match celebration was subdued as Port Adelaide had to use the locker room later in the day.

He credits assistant coach Troy Chaplin with his defensive development this season, having been an offensive end with the Dragons.

“He was probably my trusted man,” Bowey said.

“He was probably the most important guy at the club for me, he allowed me to develop and helped me learn the defensive side so well.”

A fortnight later, Bowey became the fourth Demon to be nominated for rising star this season, with 18 touches against Adelaide Crows, when he left a Crow worse for wear after the pair attacked a loose ball at mid-back.

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It’s worth remembering that Bowey saw nearly his entire 2020 season wiped out due to the pandemic, managing only limited minutes in a Test game against the Oakleigh Chargers. To his credit, he maintained a positive frame of mind and trained at a nearby oval.

“What he’s done in the last year, kids like Jake who are diligent, will do their own thing, are driven, have good mental health, he’s a happy, positive kid, they just go ahead of the kids because that they’re out, they’re kicking the Footy, they’re doing what they can when they can, and they don’t lose sight of what they’re working towards in a good way,” Bourke said.

While all parties, ahead of last year’s national draft, recognized there might be limitations due to Bowey’s height (175cm), the man himself was inspired by the point guard Western Bulldogs playing Caleb Daniel. The Demons knew of Bowey’s agility, clean hands and booming right foot – he had previously trained with the Saints – and was told he would fit right in with the selfless culture they were trying out. to create. They took him with their first selection in the national draft, No. 21 overall.

His selfless traits were on display on Friday when he was a major cog in the dismantling of Geelong, but he got some attention on Sunday when he celebrated his 19th birthday.

Bourke couldn’t be happier with what he saw from Bowey at halfback, and the pair exchanged text messages on Monday.

“I think with his kicking and his decision making, I think it’s a really smart practice move,” Bourke said.

“He’s a badass, he’s really competitive and he played like that with us. He was never impressed with the level or the size of the other boy. He just stepped up and was ready to go. .