From: De La Salle
Number: 27 (1956-1962)
First on the list as a Seconds player in 1955, Jones was a half-back/ruckman who played in a Premiership side by his third senior season. He had already been the vice-captain of the 1956 Seconds premiership side, a year which he was promoted to the senior list and played two games.
Jones was left out of the 1960 finals series after playing 15 games for the year and didn't play at all in 1961 after suffering a broken and dislocated wrist in a pre-season practice match. He fell on an uncovered tap box on the Old Scotch ground.
Jones returned for four games in 1962 then retired at just 25 after suffering another severely broken wrist, owning one of the best win/loss records of any Melbourne player with more than 50 games experience.
After his retirement Jones captain/coached Prahran in the VFA (1962-1963) before playing with Waverley in 1965, coaching Central Districts in the SANFL (1968-1971) and West Perth (1973-1974) in the WAFL, who he took to a Grand Final in his first year. They only one six games in his second year and he was replaced. He also linked to the Fitzroy job for 1975, but missed out.
After two years on the board, Jones became senior coach for 1978 when Bob Skilton left the club. He gave up a job as Australian sales manager of Applied Chemicals to become one of the highest paid coaches in the league. His assistant coaches were all fellow graduates of the Norm Smith years, Ian Thorogood, Colin Wilson and Tony Bull.
Jones admitted he was starting for scratch and didn't promise instant success, saying "we are starting from scratch. Our first goal is to put together a balanced side. When we have done that we can start looking for successes". He praised a good batch of tall youngsters and suggested that from his position as a committeeman he'd seen that players had trouble communicating.
One of his first moves was towards discipline, banning players from wearing thongs, t-shirts or tracksuits. He outlined plans to have an elite training squad of 25 that would be reviewed fortnightly. When rumblings about his coaching methods started to come to the surface late in the year it was his strict disciplinary measures which were cited as a reason for the team's poor performance. Star player Laurie Fowler had fallen out with Jones during the year but returned soon after. Later, players criticised his training methods as too easy.
Midway through the season Jones said: "We began this year as a development programme. I didn't expect any more success than we have had, although I think the club may have done so". He said that his long term plan involved a change of gameplan, but he never got to implement it.
The side won the wooden spoon and the incoming Wayne Reid administration sacked him one year into a two year contract. Jones claimed he had resigned, but either way he was out of a job shortly before Christmas 1978. He didn't seek future coaching opportunities, saying: "I just want to fade out of football quietly". Leigh Matthews was an early contender to take the captain-coach role, and there was speculation about John Kennedy being lured out of retirement but eventually Carl Ditterich was signed as playing coach for 1979. Jones took on a role as a radio special comments man instead.
May have been recruited from Armadale. Name also spelt Dennis in many sources.
Argus - 06/06/1956
Age - 27/03/1961
Age - 28/03/1961
Football Record R1 1963
Age - 05/09/1974
Age - 15/03/1978
Age - 29/06/1978
Age - 29/11/1978
Inside Football - 10/05/1979
Herald Sun - 23/12/1999
Herald Sun - 11/01/2000