Jetta finds his mojo at Demons
Jetta finds his mojo at Demons

Melbourne defender Neville Jetta was so convinced his AFL career was over at the end of last year he had all but agreed to return to Swan Districts.

The 24-year-old had spoken in depth to younger brother Rodney about joining him at the WAFL club he was originally drafted from with pick No.51 in the 2008 national draft.

Instead, the smooth-moving footballer from Bunbury is getting his head around the possible task of shutting down Richmond's Dustin Martin in this afternoon's clash at the MCG.

It will be Jetta's fifth consecutive AFL appearance for 2014 - the first time he has achieved such a run in four years.

It is a major breakthrough for a fringe player who has so far failed to string together 10 matches in a season since his 2009 debut year despite Melbourne's on-field struggles.

Last year, Jetta thought his stop-start AFL career, where he had been largely used as a small forward, was finished.

"I almost ended up there last year," Jetta said of Swan Districts.

"I was weighing things up, but I knew Graham, Rodney, Brandon and Aaron Jetta were all playing there. It was pretty enticing to go and play for the whole family again. I had thoughts in my mind that I was gone and just played like every game was my last game."

A conversation with Melbourne's interim coach Neil Craig midway through last season resurrected his future.

"He really wanted me to become consistent with my football," Jetta said.

"He said it was the only thing that was going to hold me back, which I knew as well."

Jetta was rewarded with a promotion to face Western Bulldogs in the final home-and-away game after strong form with VFL affiliates Casey Scorpions.

The club saw enough in Jetta's shut-down role as a small defender on Luke Dahlhaus to use a pick in the subsequent rookie draft to hold on to him, after he had been de-listed.

Luck has since played its part in Jetta's revival.

Jack Trengove's season-ending foot injury allowed the club to upgrade Jetta to the senior list.

Jetta kept Eddie Betts goalless in the Dees' round-seven upset win over Adelaide in a performance he rates as close to his best at AFL level.

Jetta praised the influence of premiership coach Paul Roos this season, saying the club felt like a different place and the players were no longer content with being competitive.

"He's definitely helped the mindset of the players and given them confidence that they can play and they can win," he said.

The West Australian

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