Entering his fifth season in the AFL, Jack Bowes has settled into his new home in defense.
The SUNS Academy graduate was originally recruited as a versatile midfielder, and has played that role with success early in his career, but is now comfortable plying his trade as a rebounding defender.
Speaking to SUNS Media, Bowes said being able to train exclusively as a defender this pre-season had given him great preparation heading into the 2021 season.
“I’ve spoken with Dewy (senior coach Stuart Dew) and Drummo (defensive coach Josh Drummond) and yeah they see me as playing that halfback role again,” Bowes said.
“It's been good to be able to do a full preseason down back as well where previously I hadn't been able to do that.
“We’re also pretty young down back as well so where I can I’ll help out communication and leadership-wise back there and help develop some of the younger boys like Luko (Jack Lukosius), Powelly (Wil Powell) and Budders (Connor Budarick).”
Playing off half-back is a familiar role for Bowes.
In his debut season in the AFL, the Cairns product played in that position as he acclimatised to the rigours of senior football.
2020 was his first season back in the defensive half since that rookie year, and also his most consistent season to date, playing all 17 games and ranking above average in almost all statistical categories.
But despite his success as a defender, Bowes still labels himself as a “midfielder at heart” and hasn’t ruled out a move back to his most natural position at some stage in the future.
“I’ve been able to play majority midfield in my third year which has held me in really good stead if anything does happen or if I'm relied upon to have another run through there,” he said.
“I'm really happy to do so as well, I’m always a midfielder at heart so if I get the chance to go back in there I’d love that.
“But right now for the betterment of the team, I'm really enjoying halfback and developing there.”
With the likes of David Swallow, Touk Miller, Hugh Greenwood, Lachie Weller, Matt Rowell, Noah Anderson, Will Brodie, Brayden Fiorini and Ben Ainsworth all adding depth to the SUNS midfield this season, Bowes may not be needed in the engine room just yet.
But the 23-year-old has time on his side and will undoubtedly find himself back in the midfield again in due course.