11 August 2001
Seasonal workers are the traditional backbone of primary industry in this country. They shear the sheep and harvest the wheat and pick the fruit. Footballers too are seasonal workers. Some are more itinerant than others. Dale Kickett is the current record holder with five AFL clubs. Adrian Fletcher is next with four. A lot are on three. One bloke would have preferred the homestead on the small parcel of land. But injuries caused him to roll up the swag and hit the road. The man is Jamie Elliott.
As a kid he opened his suitcase and displayed his abundant playing wares with Maryborough in the Bendigo league. He always had time to dispose of the ball thoughtfully. While opponents and team mates busted their boilers Elliott had a calm in the thick of the action. The ball seemed to follow him like a dog on a leash.
Fitzroy drafted Elliott with 1989 national draft pick 69. A bargain. The Roys gave their new player the number 28 guernsey that had been worn by such Lion luminaries as Tilt Carter and at one stage by Doc Wheildon. Players considered it something of an unlucky jumper.
JE had a useful physique. 185 and 70. Could be used in defence or in the midfield. He made his senior debut in 1991. Some decisive games across half back. For a young bloke he had excellent vision and chose the right option. Plus like kung-fu fighting, he did it with expert timing. Elliott played 16 games in his first year. Perhaps a small blemish on his technique was an apparent lack of explosive pace. Yet everyone expected leg speed would catch up with his other skills. In 1992 Dr J suffered a series of hamstring injuries that were lower back related. The sciatic nerve. Yet he performed well under duress.
The 1993 Fosters Cup. Lions and Dogs. Just before half time Elliott got himself clear and 40 metres out. Composed as Beethoven scored the major then got hammered by a duo of defenders. It was a troubled year for Jamie. Injury recurrence. A useful game round 6 vs Brisbane at the Gabba. The Brizzy mob kept bombing the Sherrin into their attacking 50. The E guy took a series of courageous marks as a sweeper across half back. A loss for the Maroons. However injuries reared their ugly little heads again. But he still made 14 starts. Up to the end of 1993 JE had played a total of 40 games. Couldn't see much future at Lionland.
In March 1994 he appeared before the AFL appeals board asking for a release. Fitzroy allowed him to throw the rucksack in the ute and get the big wheels turning. Punt Roadwards. The Tigers selected him with 1994 pre season pick 3. He took over the number 28 previously carried by Peter Czerkaski and Mark McQueen. Elliott looked the goods at pre season. Might have picked up 5 kilometres an hour in pace. Early in the season he suffered a knee injury which was added to the hamstring trouble. He played 9 games for one goal in '94 and '95.
The Tigers let him drive the highway once more. St Kilda gave him a gig with a 1995 trade for Wayne Thornborrow. Again Jamie wore the number 28. A handy defender and midfielder. Injuries again restricted his fluency and authority. But in 1998 round 12 he excelled against Collingwood at the Park. Kept a lid on Paul Licuria. Late in the first he followed his man into the Saints front half. Marked an errant clearing kick. Played on and jammed through a goal. St Kilda won 17.15 to 11.16. The Saints let him put his tent back in the bag at the end of '98. A total of 9 games. Years cursed by injury. An AFL journey thrust upon Jamie Elliott.
The Coodabeen Champions Pharaohs of Fate