Get Shorty

He may be short in name, and even shorter in stature, but there is a long and lengthy career in front of tough, tenacious Tiger, Jayden Short.

In a sanitised world of professional sport where colourful characters and enigmatic entertainers are practically extinct, Jayden Short is a refreshing reminder that expression and individuality in AFL Football is still very much alive and kicking.

But don’t be fooled by the heckling, the quick one-liners, or the urge to play the class clown more often than not, there is an underlying burning drive and determination to this rapidly improving Tiger that has moulded Jayden Short into the man he is today.

With 24 AFL games to his name, the pathway to the big time has certainly not been a traditional one for Short, who spent two years on Richmond’s Rookie list before being elevated to the Senior list in 2017.

Originally recruited to Punt Road as a small forward, Short would kick three goals on debut in a role familiar to him as a junior with the Northern Knights, before quickly finding his niche – somewhat unexpectedly – as a rugged defender in a much improved Richmond defensive unit.

Not surprisingly, Short was one of the first in line to join the Trade Institute of Victoria with a group of 11 Tiger teammates studying Certificate III in Carpentry and Certificate IV in Building and Construction courses simultaneously at TIV.

“I worked for a year after Year 12 before I got drafted – I was just labouring for a Chippie,” Short says.

“When the opportunity to get involved at TIV came up I jumped at the chance.”

Perhaps it was the adversity and challenges Short faced in forging a career in the AFL that has provided him with a far greater insight and better understanding than most, of the importance of life after football.

“Life after footy is such a massive priority for both the clubs and the players these days,” Short says.

“I know this Certificate III in Carpentry course at TIV will lead to something that I can make a career of out of after football,” he adds.

Never one to do things half-heartedly, Short is in the process of adding another string to his bow with even further study at TIV.

“I’m also currently doing my Certificate IV in Building and Construction at TIV which adds the project management side of things to the practical skills you learn in the Certificate III in Carpentry course,” Short says.

“Down the track I’d really like to operate and run my own building site,” he adds.

There are distinct parallels between the manner in which an athlete approaches their study or extra-curricular activities and how he or she performs come game time in competition.

The “Footy Gods” are well renowned and deeply respected among the AFL population for rewarding good athletes on the field for doing great things off it.

Equally, those who cut corners or take short cuts in life are predictably the subject of poor performances or injuries when it comes to plying their craft on match day.

One should never, ever, disrespect the Footy Gods.

If the way Jayden Short approaches his study at TIV is any indication, then he has little to worry about when it comes to getting a kick on the weekend with the Tigers.
He is a fiercely determined and highly motivated little bugger, and while he may annoy the hell out of his teammates with bad gags and cheap pranks, he is extremely dedicated to the course, and much loved by his peers.

Not surprisingly, he doesn’t pass up the opportunity to have a little fun with his fellow TIV Tiger teammates.

“The boys probably hate having me down here with them, I’m sure I annoy the crap out of them while they are trying to get on the tools,” Short laughs.

“Jack (Jack Riewoldt) is probably the weirdest of the group, he’ll never be a chippie in his entire life!” he adds.

You can then feel the respect in Short’s voice when asked to speak seriously for a moment about the dual Coleman medalist in Riewoldt.

“It’s great to have such an experienced player like Jack come down and study Carpentry at TIV, particularly for us younger guys,” Short says.

“Then you’ve got Hunty (Taylor Hunt) and Lloydy (Sam Lloyd) who never miss a beat and set a great example for guys like myself, Georgie (Jason Castagna) and Tigger (Nick Vlastuin) to follow,” he adds.

It’s refreshing to have loveable larrikins like Jayden Short involved at TIV.

Short in name yes, but larger than life in everything that matters..

And that, is the long and the short of it.

Author: Aaron Lord

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