JACKSON MEAD made history at this year’s NAB AFL Draft when he became just the second player to join the club as a father-son selection.
With the 25th pick of the draft, Mead became Port Adelaide’s first father-son draftee since former Power forward Brett Ebert (son of the legendary Russell) in 2002 – and was joined shortly after by speedy midfielder and good friend Trent Burgoyne (son of Peter).
Mead’s father Darren enjoyed a celebrated career with Port Adelaide, playing over 100 games for both the Magpies and the Power, winning three SANFL premierships and claiming the club’s inaugural AFL best and fairest.
And while the younger Mead was ecstatic to follow in his father’s footsteps, he is determined to prove that isn’t the only reason he now finds himself an AFL player.
“To carry on the Mead name is a massive honour – to be here and start to get to work to hopefully enhance that name and carry it on,” the 18-year-old said at a press conference on Friday afternoon.
“I obviously don’t want to be known as Darren Mead’s son for the rest of my life.
“Hopefully a few pre-seasons and a few AFL games here and there can hopefully do that.”
The skillful midfielder said being drafted was a proud moment not only for himself, but for his entire family.
“It’s been one of the best moments of my life,” he said.
“We had the family and friends over last night so it was just special to capture that moment and share it with people that have helped me along the way.”
While his father was an imposing tall defender, Jackson has carved his path as a well-rounded midfielder, claiming dual All-Australian honours with South Australia at the 2018 and 2019 AFL National Championships.
After playing senior SANFL football in 2019, Mead was confident in his ability to earn an AFL debut in his first season with the Power.
“I think after having pre-season to build the endurance up and learn from the boys here and learn the game plan, I think anything is possible,” he said.
“I think I’m a pretty well-rounded footballer.
“Mainly play mid-forward and try and use the ball well when I get it.
“I don’t get a whole lot of the footy, but when I do I try and make it count and try and have quality possessions rather than turn it over.
In the meantime, the Woodville-West Torrens product was excited to meet his fellow draftees and teammates and get to work.
“To come here with all the other boys – there’s five of us including me I think – and build a friendship right off the bat and get out on the track and start to better ourselves individually is probably the main things that I’m looking forward to.
“And then when it comes game time, I guess that’s where the fun really starts.”
Mead and Port Adelaide’s other draftees will have their first pre-season session with their new teammates on Monday morning.
And it is in that moment that Jackson Mead will take the first steps in forging his own career as Port Adelaide player.