10 o’clock on the morning of Jobe’s announcement I drifted off for my morning nap after the 4am wake up for work at Caulfield, unaware the I was going to wake up to the news I had dreaded all season.
12:45pm my alarm goes off…time to head back for the afternoon shift. I turned the alarm off and checked all the notifications I’d received while I was asleep…lots more than usual from the Essendon Fc twitter account.
A minute or two later it hit me. Jobe had pulled the pin. I was in a rush to get ready to go back to work and I was still a bit dazed from my nap to really comprehend the situation. At first I just thought ‘well we knew this was coming’.
It wasn’t until I sat down later on in the afternoon and watched the thank you video Jobe had sent out to the fans that it really hit home; Jobe was retiring from footy.
I was still young when Jobe was drafted in 2002, only five years young, and I didn’t know much of him until 2007 when I really switched on to footy. My dad would tell me that he was “Timmy’s son” and although I was old enough to know who Tim was, I wasn’t old enough to know what it meant to be Timmy’s son.
I can’t remember why I, like every other Essendon supporter, fell in love with Jobe. He was always that player that never did anything to make you not like him so by default, you just liked him. He always spoke so well and had that cute smile and was a bit of a dork off the field, but on it he was a beast. Maybe that’s why I fell in love with Jobe.
I remember Brownlow night of 2012. I don’t remember who was the favourite to win but I do remember that it wasn’t Jobe. The Bombers didn’t have a great season that year. We started well and then faded away to miss out on finals and Jobe winning the Brownlow was the last thing I had thought about all year.
When it started getting late into the count, Jobe was in front and my dad had fallen asleep watching it and I just had this feeling that it was too good to be true. With players like Gary Ablett and Dane Swan in the mix, I never considered our Jobe.
And then he won it. When it got to the end of the count and he had it in the bag, I remember sitting up in my bed, smiling as wide as my mouth would allow and pumping both arms up and down in the air, having my own little celebration for Jobe. I was so proud of him and I had no idea why.
When the drugs scandal was announced, my first thought was ‘this stuff just doesn’t happen at Essendon’, my second thought was ‘surely it’s not true’, and my third thought? Jobe’s Brownlow. He was always a champion to the Essendon fans but he had finally been recognised by the rest of the competition and I couldn’t bear the thought of that being taken away from him.
We all know what happened to Jobe during the saga and I don’t need to go into it here but what I will say is, not only would the football club have fallen apart if it weren’t for Jobe, the supporter base would have as well. People talk about how loyal the Essendon fans have been throughout all this but at times it was hard. Being taunted by rival supporters saying we follow a bunch of drug cheats got frustrating but Jobe kept us believing. He showed us that if he could get through this (and he had it much tougher than we did), we could get through it.
The resilience that Jobe showed from 2013 until today has inspired me like nothing else ever has. Because of Jobe I feel like there isn’t anything great enough that I can’t tackle. He also showed me that sometimes, like during the back half of 2015, it’s okay to get knocked down because there’s always a way back up again, even if you just have to fly over to England and have a beer at the Ashes.
On the 22nd of September, 2016 it was my nineteenth birthday. It was honestly one of the crappiest birthdays I have had and I got home from having dinner with my family and I was a bit sad about the whole day, until 9:22pm.
“He mate, I’m going to need to borrow these back off you”, the best birthday present I have ever been given and he didn’t even know he had given it to me. It was like it was a completely different day. I was going to get to see Jobe play in the red and black at least one more time and that meant more to me than any gift ever could.
Then came the first JLT Community Series game. Effectively Jobe’s first actual game of footy back from suspension. I was sat on the couch an hour before the game was due to start just counting down the minutes. It was the longest hour of my entire life. They ran on to the field and then the opening bounce. Jobe got the first touch and I was smiling so much my jaw started to ache. I didn’t realise how much I missed watching him play until that moment.
Every match came around and all I wanted was for Jobe to kick a goal. He kept getting opportunities and then missing. It was frustrating but it was Jobe, his goal kicking has never been his strongest skill. Round 12 against Port Adelaide the Bombers were up by plenty and the game was ours to lose. We had all gotten pretty comfortable and were just enjoying the match. Enter Jobe.
He got the ball inside 50 and had a shot. GOAL! Without even thinking I leapt up and squealed I was so excited. I’ve never heard such a roar for a goal in a game that had already been won but it was Jobe, everyone was (almost) as excited as I was.
His time is up and we all know it but that doesn’t mean we don’t wish it wasn’t true. If I had my way, Jobe would have an unstoppable body that allowed him to play on forever but I don’t get my way very often.
Round 23 might be Jobe’s last match but it might not. Whether it is or it isn’t, when that final siren rings across Etihad Stadium, there will be tears. Lots of them.
Thank you Jobe. Thank you for giving me so many memories that I will cherish forever. Thank you for being so kind when signing autographs and taking photos. Thank you for leading our great club through the thickest mud any AFL club has ever seen before. Thank you for making me smile with your poor outfit choices. Thank you for showing me that I can be just as resilient as anybody else in the world. Most of all, thank you for just being Jobe.
Photo: Fox Sports