It seems each week Jack Bowes is coming up against some of the best midfielders in the country.
Last week it was West Coast’s Andrew Gaff he went toe-to-toe with, before that it’s been the likes of Lachie Neale, Rory Sloane, Patrick Cripps and Nat Fyfe.
But the third-year midfielder is taking it in his stride and says he’s benefitting hugely from the learnings he’s taking away from those encounters.
“(They’re) really highly respected players,” Bowes told SUNS Media.
“Obviously Gaff can run all day and (Elliot) Yeo and (Luke) Shuey had their influence that they were having at the back end of last year as well.
“It’s always nice playing against those and testing yourself against the best and obviously seeing where you have to get to as a player.”
Bowes has come a long way since his debut back in 2017.
He started as a rangy half-back, before playing stints in the midfield last year, to now playing almost exclusively as an on-baller in 2019.
“From a personal point of view it’s been nice to develop a little bit,” Bowes said.
“I think a lot of that goes down to just having a consistent pre-season and being able to get out and do a lot of training sessions and work with people like Alex Rigby and development coaches like Tate (Kaesler) and Josh (Drummond) in the midfield.
“(We) put plans together that help make that easier and develop a bit quicker.
“I’ve just got to keep sticking to that and it’s been nice to play seven games in a row now and just keep that continuity with training.
“I think if you keep doing that then you give yourself a good chance to perform on the weekend.
Bowes has played every match so far in 2019, and is enjoying playing his natural position as a midfielder.
He says it’s the position he’s most comfortable in and would prefer playing there long-term, but also says his flexibility allows him to adapt to different roles when required.
“As a junior I’ve always played in the midfield and I’ve loved playing there,” he said.
“But I guess it’s wherever the team wants me, on the weekend I was able to go down at half-back too and half-forward so it’s just whatever suits the team at the time.
“I’m easy, capable of doing it and happy to do that as well.”
This weekend, Bowes will face another midfield demon in Melbourne.
The 21-year-old says the Dees play a very contested brand of football and like to move the ball quickly when in possession.
“They had a really nice win against the Hawks last weekend so we’ll take a lot of learnings out of their game and try to see how they go about their football,” Bowes said.
“What we know is they have some really strong midfielders in there and they contest really hard at the footy so we’ll go through that this week.
“Hopefully if we bring that pressure and intensity that we did in the second half last week into the first half then hopefully we can put them on the back foot early.”