Harry Jones celebrates a goal during the match between the Western Bulldogs and Essendon at Marvel Stadium in R5, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

AFTER a difficult few years to open his career, young Bomber Harry Jones is finding his feet at the top level.

The 2023 season was essentially a write-off for Jones, playing five games before he was sidelined with a serious back stress fracture.

While out of action with the back issue, the club made the call to send Jones in for ankle surgery to alleviate a separate, ongoing issue.

"It was a tough year last year, I was out for the majority of it injured," Jones told AFL.com.au.

"It's good to get some continuity with my body and a year older, so the body is adapting to the workload and the demands of AFL footy. Feeling really good and I'm just happy to be out here playing.

"It's annoying, but it is what is. I can't sook about it now, I just got through it, did all the rehab work and I'm happy I'm good now."


Coming into his fourth season of AFL, Jones is now 23 and is ready to take the next step in his development.

Peter Wright's suspension opened the door for his inclusion in the side and he is averaging 6.5 marks (up from 4.2 last year) and has kicked five goals from his four games, after two from five in 2023.

Harry Jones marks in front of Ed Richards during the match between the Western Bulldogs and Essendon at Marvel Stadium in R5, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

"It hurts the team that Peter's out, but with that brings opportunity. I'm just trying to take every game as it comes, and hopefully when Pete's back, we can all fit in and it works very nicely, we'll see how we go," Jones said.

"Putting on some size and getting stronger was a main focus, just my professionalism as well, outside of the footy club and becoming a normal footy player. I lived with Kyle Langford and (former teammate) Will Snelling for a couple of years, and they paved the pathway for me, learning off them.

"Recovery is a big part of it, especially coming off injuries. You realise if your body is good, you're good. It's a lot about the recovery and setting myself up for my best performance through the week, whether that's recovery, ice baths or even sleep."

Essendon recorded a crucial win over Western Bulldogs on Saturday night, coasting out to a 43-point lead in the fourth before wrapping up the 29-point victory.


"We played really well as a team. To play four quarters, and four solid efforts in those quarters of footy, that's what we want," Jones said.

"We got beaten pretty badly last week, to be honest. It was a big focus coming in and we know the Bulldogs have such a strong midfield. I feel like our mids came out and really took it up to them and almost won it.

"It didn't really feel like [a five-goal final term] out there, I was pretty cooked to be honest. It's good, it gives us some confidence going into the rest of the season, hopefully it becomes a dangerous weapon for us throughout the year."