Bell de­vel­ops at own pace for Perth

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - LOOKLOCAL -

LIT­TLE was know of Jared Bell when he first ar­rived at the Perth Foot­ball Club.

Bell played his ju­nior foot­ball for the South Perth St­ingrays, where he won a pre­mier­ship in 2011. He also played with Aquinas Col­lege in the Pri­vate School’s As­so­ci­a­tion com­pe­ti­tion.

He had never played any devel­op­ment foot­ball for the De­mons, but af­ter fin­ish­ing school at the end of 2013 he de­cided that he would try his luck at Perth.

“Be­ing 18, I thought I might as well give it a crack while I was young and if it didn’t work out, well then it didn’t work out,” Bell said.

“I went down to the club with no real ex­pec­ta­tions and just wanted to have a kick of the footy and see where it took me and it has cer­tainly paid off so far.”

At the com­ple­tion of the 2014 sea­son, Bell was named in the back pocket of the Colts Team of the Year and fin­ished run­ner-up be­hind Kayle Phillips in the Best and Fairest Award.

The tran­si­tion from colts foot­ball to se­nior foot­ball is hard for most play­ers and Bell was no dif­fer­ent, but his pos­i­tive at­ti­tude and fear­less at­tack on the foot­ball soon earned him the re­spect of his more se­nior team­mates.

“It’s a huge tran­si­tion but I went in with the mind­set of just giv­ing it a red hot crack,” he said.

“I re­ally tried to learn as much as I could off the se­nior play­ers – the blokes that train harder than any­one else, play­ers like Daniel O’Sul­li­van, who had played roughly 100 games for the club.

“At the begin­ning I prob­a­bly wasn’t quite up to the stan­dard but I pride my­self on not get­ting beaten and play­ing my role for the team.

“Be­ing able to earn the re­spect of these se­nior play­ers early on cer­tainly helped make the tran­si­tion from colts foot­ball to se­nior foot­ball eas­ier.”

Af­ter mak­ing his league de­but in round one against Swans, Bell went on to play 19 games in his first sea­son of se­nior foot­ball.

At the con­clu­sion of that year, Bell fin­ished third in the Best and Fairest, three votes be­hind run­ner-up Liam McKenna, and also re­ceived the Doug Buck­ing­ham Me­mo­rial Tro­phy, awarded to the player who shows the most po­ten­tial each sea­son.

Dur­ing the 2015 sea­son, Bell ap­peared to cause some con­tro­versy when he ‘de­clined’ to play for WA in the Na­tional Un­der-18’s Cham­pi­onships.

“The first thing I ever heard about me play­ing for WA was when that ar­ti­cle got writ­ten,” Bell said.

“I was un­der the im­pres­sion that be­cause I was 19 I was too old to play State 18s foot­ball but ap­par­ently there was a loop­hole that meant I could have be­cause I had never been through any devel­op­ment squads. It was a bit sur­pris­ing when this ar­ti­cle popped up, as I ac­tu­ally never got asked if I wanted to come down and play State 18s and I cer­tainly don’t think you turn down those sorts of of­fers.”

With the De­mons now hav­ing equalled the amount of wins they had last sea­son, Bell is keen for more suc­cess this year.

“For the rest of the year the goal as a team would be to keep de­vel­op­ing and hope­fully we can get a few more wins on the board as that al­ways helps,” he said.

“Per­son­ally I just want to keep try­ing to play my role in the team and hope­fully that can lead to­wards team suc­cess.”

An­drew Owen

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