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Jack Viney: Our red and blue warrior

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 25: Jack Viney of the Demons celebrates with the fans during the 2021 Toyota AFL Grand Final match between the Melbourne Demons and the Western Bulldogs at Optus Stadium on September 25, 2021 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
The DeeBrief

The DeeBrief

On the eve of game 200, contributor Cameron Burt celebrates the career of Jack Viney – a player who bleeds red and blue with his family ties.

I’ve sat here for 15 minutes trying to come up with the words and opening paragraph to describe Jack Viney and his 200-game career. I’ve come to the conclusion that words don’t do justice for what the man does and means to the fans of our storied footy club.

Born into a royal Demons family, Jack seemed destined for greatness. Todd left an indelible mark with his own 233 game career in red and blue. Todd’s legacy was, and remains, a high bar to live up to, but Jack never shied away from it. Instead, embracing it as a challenge to carve his own name into the history of the Melbourne Football Club.   

Using Todd’s career as a catalyst rather than a burden, with Jack’s 200th this week the Viney’s are set to become just the sixth father-son pairing to both play 200 games at one club. Jack loves club.   

From the moment Jack stepped onto the field in that famous red jumper, his tenacity, drive and love for the club was evident. He tackled with ferocity, ran tirelessly and led with unwavering determination. From his first game, you just knew Jack would one day end up as the captain of the mighty Melbourne Demons. 

Jack’s story though, hasn’t come without its hurdles. Injuries have hit and hit hard in the world of our ‘see ball, get ball’ warrior. The famous bump from David Wojcinski before it officially all began, the pesky shoulder, and that dreaded foot and plantar fasciitis that lingered for so long. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one wondering if we’d seen the best of Jack with the foot diagnosis rearing its ugly head time and time again. 

With each setback Jack grew stronger, his Demon Spirit unbroken. His spirit mirrored that of the club itself, bouncing back from adversity and reaching the absolute pinnacle on that glorious day in 2021. 

Jack already ranks among some of the greatest in Melbourne Football Club history. He not-so-surprisingly leads the club in the most ever tackles, he ranks ninth in club disposals and third in handballs, clearances and contested possessions. 

But what every supporter knows and loves about Jack, the numbers and solo accolades mean nothing without the grandest prize of them all. Despite the Brownlow votes and Demon-leading statistical categories, Jack has stayed grounded. He understands that his greatness isn’t measured by stats, but the impact that he’s had on those around him. It’s this and his drive that has led every single person associated with the Melbourne Demons to fall in love with the man who wears No. 7.

‘That’ tackle on Mav Weller

You would be hard pressed to find someone who could honestly say a bad word about him the midfield solider. In fact, how many times have you sat near an opposition fan and heard ‘can someone PLEASE tackle this bloke?!’ That Jiu Jitsu training with his younger brother and black belt, Max, has paid dividends – the commitment to go to the nth degree to maximise his footy career is undeniable.

Watching Jack lift the premiership cup on that day just hit different. He’d seen it all, he’d grown up in the club rooms, he’d flown the flag, cut him open and he bleeds red and blue. So as Jack takes the field on Saturday night, raise a glass to an all-timer, but also remember, we have so many legendary, full-bodied games left to watch in the story of Jack Viney.

The pleasure as Melbourne supporters is all ours.