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‘F*** the narrative’: Jones’ emotional Demons plea

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AFL: Melbourne duo James Harmes and Max Gawn were filmed pushing themselves at a gym as part of the club's five-part documentary series 'To Hell and Back'.

Nathan Jones encouraged his Dees teammates to "step up and lead". Picture: 'To Hell and Back’ – Melbourne FC Media.Source:Supplied

Following a season that prompted him to contemplate retirement, veteran Nathan Jones implored Melbourne’s next generation to “step up and lead” when he stood down as skipper.

Jones chose to hand over the captaincy reins in September after leading the club for six years and 129 matches.

The on-baller informed his Dees teammates when they briefly returned to the club to receive their pre-season programs – weeks after they’d finished a horror 2019 campaign in 17th spot with a 5-17 record.

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Jones’ emotional address was captured by Melbourne’s media team and featured in the first of a five-part documentary series ‘To Hell and Back’, which launched on Sunday night.

“I’ve been fortunate enough, humbled and very grateful to be captain of this footy club for the last six years,” Jones told teammates.

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“At the end of this year, I reflected pretty strongly on a whole range of things. But obviously my No. 1 priority was to make the best decision for the footy club and the best decision for this playing group, so I've decided I'm going to step away from that role as captain.

“Off the back of that, it's going to require guys to step up – step up and lead.

“F*** the narrative that's out there that we don't have leaders in this room because we f***in’ do. But you’ve got to have the balls and courage to step up and help Jack, help me, help Max (Gawn), help Nev (Jetta) and the other guys who have been driving this club for a long time, because if we're going to make change, I think that's what it's going to take – because I don't want to be back where we were last year.

Nathan Jones told teammates of his decision to step down as Melbourne captain. Picture: 'To Hell and Back’ – Melbourne FC Media.

Nathan Jones told teammates of his decision to step down as Melbourne captain. Picture: 'To Hell and Back’ – Melbourne FC Media.Source:FOX SPORTS

“I shared with you how much last season broke me and all I want to do is start enjoying footy again. I love you boys, I love this club and I just want to us to f***in’ win. I want success again.”

In a separate interview at his house, Jones then reflected on how he broke the news to his peers and the range of emotions he experienced.

The 286-game veteran described the process as “like a re-birth to shed some of the weight” he’d been mentally carrying for many years.

“When I was explaining that to the players, I could almost feel some of the emotion coming out,” he said.

“I feel like in the end it’d become a burden for me, not only the disappointment of 2019, but the disappointment of a decade.”

Nathan Jones stepped down as Melbourne captain. Picture: Daniel Pockett

Nathan Jones stepped down as Melbourne captain. Picture: Daniel PockettSource:AAP

Jones said he’d been dwelling on his decision to stand down for a while and revealed he considered retiring, before eventually deciding to sign another contract.

“If you went right back … there was contemplation of whether I should continue to play,” he said.

“Was my passion still there? I think physically I always felt like I was capable, but I think last year really broke me down mentally and come the end of the season I just had a lot to think about.”

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