Player Watch #2: Jaidyn Stephenson

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RossHenshaw

Team Captain
Sep 12, 2020
424
862
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Probably our best value pick up since... I don't even know. Grant? For mine he'd be pretty comfortably in our top 5 players this year, is 22 and we payed very little for him. Absolute bargain.
Yes but we had to give Shwatta for Grant . Stephenson cost us nothing plus we got Atu as steaknives 👍👍👍
 

ferball

Premium Platinum
Jul 24, 2015
23,431
44,423
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Probably our best value pick up since... I don't even know. Grant? For mine he'd be pretty comfortably in our top 5 players this year, is 22 and we payed very little for him. Absolute bargain.
Higgo and Waite were great pick ups. More so Higgo. Six years, two Syd Barkers and a runner up. For half his time with us he was in our best two players.
 

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shintemaster

Brownlow Medallist
Aug 24, 2002
15,934
28,957
Ponderama
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Higgo and Waite were great pick ups. More so Higgo. Six years, two Syd Barkers and a runner up. For half his time with us he was in our best two players.
Agree. They were the other two that came to mind as his competition. It’s early days I know but anything like this level for the remainder of his career and he is a mile ahead.
 

Kanga Glory

Premium Platinum
Nov 1, 2010
4,181
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arden st
AFL Club
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North Melbourne v Collingwood: Jaidyn Stephenson opens up ahead of first game against former AFL club
Ahead of his first game against Collingwood, a candid Jaidyn Stephenson has opened up on his shock trade and relationship with Nathan Buckley.

Glenn McFarlane

10 min read
May 5, 2021 - 2:44PM
News Corp Australia Sports Newsroom

0 comments



HERALDSUN.COM.AU1:43
Eddie explains why four players were traded
Collingwood president Eddie McGuire says the reason four players were traded was due to anticipation of…


Jaidyn Stephenson says he feels for Collingwood and his former coach Nathan Buckley in the wake of the club’s worst start to a season in 16 years.
But the North Melbourne speedster stressed he had finally moved on from his messy Magpies’ departure late last year.
Speaking ahead of his first clash against his old side at Marvel Stadium on Saturday, Stephenson told the Herald Sun he no longer harboured a grudge against Buckley or the club for controversially putting him up for trade at the end of 2020.

Instead, the 22-year-old one-time AFL Rising Star winner couldn’t be more grateful for the support he has received from the Kangaroos, saying it played a part in his healing process.
“I haven’t spoken to Bucks since I left, but I do feel for him and for the club with what they are going through at the moment,” Stephenson said.
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Jaidyn Stephenson says he hasn’t spoken to Nathan Buckley since being traded. Picture: Michael Klein.

Jaidyn Stephenson says he hasn’t spoken to Nathan Buckley since being traded. Picture: Michael Klein.
“I’m a bit shocked … to see them not having the results they have been accustomed to over the last few years is surprising.
“The heat that is coming on Bucks and the club has been a bit stiff.
“I know the players, I know the coaches and I know the support staff, and to see them struggling and sort of having the heat put on them is not a good thing.


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“I hope they can turn their season around … but not this week … that can come in Round 9.”
The under-siege Magpies have slumped to 17th on the ladder after five consecutive losses with only one win for the season.
They will take on the Kangaroos, who are yet to win a game this year, but Stephenson said he wasn’t seeing this as a chance for payback against his old side.
“I understand the interest, but at the end of the day, it’s just another game,” he said.
“I am more interested in what we’re doing at North Melbourne, not what they are doing. We’re looking to win our first game; it doesn’t matter who we are playing.”
Jaidyn Stephenson will take on the Magpies for the first time as a Roo this round.

Jaidyn Stephenson will take on the Magpies for the first time as a Roo this round.
Late last year Stephenson took a swipe at Buckley — who is now out of contract and fighting to keep his job — after being told to find a new home, despite being under contract.
“As much as I would have loved to stay at the Pies at the time, I’m at North now and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” he said.
“It wasn’t easy, but it has all worked out in the end as I’m loving it at North.
“You have to understand that it is a business, and business and relationships are two very different things.
“If you are the one holding the grudge, it is more on you than anything else.”
He doesn’t expect any extra attention from his ex-teammates or the Magpies’ crowd on Saturday.
“I don’t reckon any of them will get into me or anything like that,” he said. “I certainly won’t be lipping off. I’ll just be playing my role as best as I can.
Jaidyn Stephenson says he’s enjoying life as a Kangaroo.

Jaidyn Stephenson says he’s enjoying life as a Kangaroo.
Then he added with a laugh: “Maybe if Tay(lor) Adams had been playing, he might have.
“I just know if the ball was there, he would try and kill me.
“It would be great if (Collingwood fans) could still support us even though we are playing for another team. They meant a lot to me for a few years and still hold that little part in my heart.
“But I’m a North Melbourne player now and I’m loving it there.”
HOW NOBLE’S CALL HELPED STEPHENSON FEEL AT HOME
It was the phone call that helped to restore Jaidyn Stephenson’s battered confidence.
Having just been traded out of Collingwood to North Melbourne – despite being under contract and initially wanting to stay – Stephenson was still dealing with the fallout when a new number flashed onto his phone last November.
Instinctively, he took the call.
It was new Kangaroos coach David Noble, who had only been appointed days earlier.
That short conversation – and what has followed since – provided the 22-year-old with a clear direction for the future, helping him to move forward instead of dwelling on the past.
“He (Noble) gave me a call … (and said) he was really excited about the opportunity to coach us young boys (at North Melbourne),” Stephenson told the Herald Sun.
“He just sort of filled me with confidence right from the start.
Jaidyn Stephenson was forced out of Collingwood due to the club’s salary cap issues.

Jaidyn Stephenson was forced out of Collingwood due to the club’s salary cap issues.
“He explained the role he wanted me to play and (talked about) the things he thought I was good at. It was a real confidence booster for me right from the start, which was what I needed at the time.
“Just having the backing of a new coach coming in was great.”
Six months on, North Melbourne is yet to win a game, but Stephenson is relishing his new role at his new club as well as his evolving relationship with Noble and the assistants.
“Nobes is a very driven and motivated person … the thing about him is you are never left wondering what he is thinking,” he said.
“You always know what he wants from you. There are no grey areas. If I’ve had a bad game or a bad moment, he will explain it to you and tell you how to do it differently next time.”
Stephenson is confident a win is not far away for the Kangaroos and hopes it can come against his old side on Saturday.
Jaidyn Stephenson has spent more time in midfield at his second club.

Jaidyn Stephenson has spent more time in midfield at his second club.
“I thought at halftime last week (against Melbourne) we were going to win it,” he said.
“We proved for two and a half quarters that we can match it with the best when we are on. But when we are not on, we aren’t up to that level.
“It will only take one win and we will be dangerous. Whether it is this year, or next year, things are looking up. I don’t think success is that far away.”

PIES’ WHIRLWIND
Few footballers have made as many early headlines — good and bad — as Stephenson did in his three seasons with Collingwood.
Then he was gone.
Having embraced the spotlight in that time, his recent experiences have taught him the benefits of keeping a lower profile.
“Obviously there was a lot of exposure when you were at Collingwood, which was probably good in the early days,” he explained. “But it is good now to just focus on your own game and let your footy do the talking.
“The first six weeks (of 2021) have been the quietest it has ever been and that’s refreshing.”
Jaidyn Stephenson had a tumultuous time as a Magpie.

Jaidyn Stephenson had a tumultuous time as a Magpie.
His 2018-2020 stint at Collingwood were, in Stephenson’s own words, “eventful”.
There was the heart scare — a genetic form of arrhythmia — before the 2017 draft, though it didn’t hinder him or stop Collingwood taking him at pick No.6.
In his first season (2018) he finished with 26 games and 38 goals, an AFL Rising Star victory and a heartbreaking Grand Final loss.
His second season was rocked by a 10-week suspension and a $20,000 fine for having a number of small bets on AFL matches.
The third was ruined by a lapse in form as well as an inability to adjust to hub life away from his family, which ultimately led to a falling out with Collingwood and a trade to the Roos.
He went through myriad emotions as he and three other players including Adam Treloar were squeezed out of the Magpies, due to salary cap issues.
His anger has dissipated, though he still struggles to understand where it all went wrong.
Despite taking a public swipe at Nathan Buckley immediately after his trade period, he is a little more conciliatory these days.
Jaidyn Stephenson with coach Nathan Buckley after being drafted to the Magpies.

Jaidyn Stephenson with coach Nathan Buckley after being drafted to the Magpies.
Asked if he had spoken to his former coach since late last year, Stephenson said: “No, I haven’t spoken to Bucks … if I ran into him in a cafe, I’m sure I would sit down and have a chat with him … but I am at another club now.”
“I’ve moved on.
“I still enjoy watching their games and want them to do well — other than this week — because I’ve still got some good mates there.
“Josh Daicos had a good game (last) weekend. Jack Madgen had a good game on the wing a few weeks back. I still want my friends to do well, but it is purely on that level now.”
But one thing that still annoys him is the fact Collingwood told Trey Ruscoe and Anton Tohill — both Magpie players — to move out of Stephenson’s house before the start of this season.
“Josh Daicos was in there to start with, but he moved out,” Stephenson said. “Then I had Trey Ruscoe and Jay Rantall, before Jay moved out, and Anton Tohill moved in.
Jaidyn Stephenson soaks up his Rising Star triumph.

Jaidyn Stephenson soaks up his Rising Star triumph.
“But the Pies said they should move out.
“I was slightly (annoyed) by that and it certainly made it hard for me because I chose to live with those guys and knocked back two other mates, who had already found other places.”

HATING HUB-LIFE
Stephenson makes no secret of how much he struggled in the hub last year, which impacted on his form (he played 14 games and was dropped on a few occasions).
“It was tough last year, not performing as well as you would have liked and not really enjoying being in the hub,” he said. “That sucked.
“There was more pressure and pressure being laid on and not being able to get home to see family and friends was the worst part of it.”
Stephenson is super close to his parents, Raquel and Darren, and sister, Tegan.
“I think the players who thrived in the environment were the people who live and breathe football all the time whereas there were a lot of others who prefer to switch off, and I am one of those ones,” he said. “I wasn’t able to switch off as well as I could have.”
Jaidyn Stephenson burst onto the scene with Collingwood.

Jaidyn Stephenson burst onto the scene with Collingwood.
His father and sister were Kangaroos fans before he was drafted. His mum had always barracked for the Magpies.
Now the entire family follows the Kangaroos, and try to get to as many games as they can.
ED AND ADS
A text message Stephenson received soon after the Round 4 clash with Adelaide was also part of the healing process.
It came from former Collingwood president Eddie McGuire.
“I’ve spoken to Eddie a few times; he’s always been good to me,” Stephenson said.
“I built a reasonable relationship with him in the short time I was at Collingwood.
“He sent me a message after a game a couple of weeks ago. He just said ‘well played today’ and that meant a bit to me.”
Mark Anderson, Jaidyn Stephenson and Geoff Walsh address media after the then-Magpie’s betting ban.

Mark Anderson, Jaidyn Stephenson and Geoff Walsh address media after the then-Magpie’s betting ban.
Stephenson has also had some discussions with Treloar, who similarly found himself turfed out of Collingwood last year.
“I’ve spoken to Ads a little bit,” he said. “He’s really enjoying his time at the Bulldogs and his team is flying at the moment.
“He is playing as good a footy as I have seen. He maybe isn’t getting the 40 disposals like he did every week at the Pies. But I think when you are having 30 and your team is winning, you can’t ask for much more than that.”

KANGA KIDS
Stephenson spent a fortnight at Arden St during his 2017 draft year, as he prepared for the transition to AFL football.
“I trained there when I was 17,” he said. “I lived with Sam Wright for two weeks back then and some of the support staff and players are still there now.
“I have been able to reconnect with some of them and they have been so welcoming to me.
“Jy Simpkin, Cam Zurhaar and Nick Larkey were in the draft year above me and Luke Davies-Uniacke and Aiden Bonar were from my year.
“There is a good core of 10 to 12 young guys coming through who are starting to play some footy together, and there is also a group of (first year) draftees who look good.
Stephenson is part of an exciting crop of youngsters coming through at North Melbourne.

Stephenson is part of an exciting crop of youngsters coming through at North Melbourne.
“I think if we can all stick together, we can build something nice here.
“I am just excited about what I can do with North Melbourne and the success I believe we are going to have in the future.”
Stephenson is looking to take his game and leadership to a new level.
He has played in a variety of positions in his seven games so far this year whereas he was cast in an almost one-dimensional role at Collingwood.
“I think I’ve added a few more strings to my bow and will continue to do more of that over the next year or two before I hopefully can solidify myself in a particular spot,” he said.
“I am still trying to find out where my best position is.
“I also feel like I am very valued and appreciated at the club and if they need a goal kicked, they will chuck me forward.”

Jaidyn Stephenson made a brilliant start to life as a Roo🔥 pic.twitter.com/MSbXtauifR
— North Melbourne (@NMFCOfficial) March 22, 2021
Ultimately, he wants to be an inside mid, but says: “There are some really good players in there at the moment that would be hard to knock … so I’m just happy to do the rounds at the moment.”
Stephenson has swiftly fallen in love with his new club.
He is at the start of a five-year contract with the Kangaroos, and is playing with a smile on his face again: “I’d love it if they gave me another five years … I want to be at the Roos for as long as I can.”
 

Val Keating

Brownlow Medallist
Dec 27, 2017
12,303
26,463
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Personally I don't think he's selfish enough around the goals. It's great he brings his team mates into the game, however there is no-one on our list that can do what he can do in front of goals.
I love the kid. Though on the weekend he took on a couple of shots from a fair way out where there were better options. Maybe he’s been given license to because he never looked like giving it off.
 

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king of the road

Premium Gold
Aug 17, 2009
1,532
3,783
Around
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Agree but he’s a bit too hungry for a goal at times
No. If you have the skills and think you can kick it - take it on.
Boomer was the same.
Nothin more frustrating than those who could shoot and pass it off for the chance to go begging... Particularly skilful forwards.
 

andana

Norm Smith Medallist
Feb 1, 2008
8,416
9,698
Thailand
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Jaidyn Stephenson’s arrival from Collingwood set tongues wagging, and North’s young gun is set to line up against his old side for the first time this weekend.

Despite the interest surrounding the clash, Stephenson says his focus is purely on how North is going to perform.

“I understand the interest, but at the end of the day, it’s just another game … I am more interested in what we’re doing at North Melbourne, not what they are doing. We’re looking to win our first game; it doesn’t matter who we are playing,” Stephenson told News Corp.

“It will only take one win and we will be dangerous … things are looking up. I don’t think success is that far away.”

Despite being drafted as a midfielder, Stephenson had played as a forward for the bulk of his career prior to arriving at North, kicking 76 goals in 54 games for the Magpies.

Now a part of North’s midfield, he says the faith shown in him by David Noble has been key to getting the best out of his game.

“He just sort of filled me with confidence right from the start … he explained the role he wanted me to play and (talked about) the things he thought I was good at. It was a real confidence booster for me right from the start, which was what I needed at the time,” he said.


“Nobes is a very driven and motivated person … the thing about him is you are never left wondering what he is thinking … you always know what he wants from you. There are no grey areas. If I’ve had a bad game or a bad moment, he will explain it to you and tell you how to do it differently next time.

“Just having the backing of a new coach coming in was great.”

Still just 22 years of age, Stephenson fits the new demographic of exciting, talented youngsters at North, joining the likes of Lachie Young and Atu Bosenavulagi in being traded to the club over the off-season.

“Jy Simpkin, Cam Zurhaar and Nick Larkey were in the draft year above me and Luke Davies-Uniacke and Aiden Bonar were from my year … there is a good core of 10 to 12 young guys coming through who are starting to play some footy together, and there is also a group of (first year) draftees who look good,” he said.
 

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