Jansen will welcome back ‘partner in crime’

Stats star: Chris Jansen’s data from the Kyabram match last week was worthy of his star status in the Goulburn Valley competition. He leads the Tigers in several season-long statistical categories. Photo: Bruce Povey

Chris Jansen’s match-winning display against Kyabram a fortnight ago featured a string of game-high statistical counts from the star mid-fielder, giving the growing audience of GVL Data plenty of numbers to digest from the weekend.

But Jansen will be keen to have his “partner in crime”, Shaun Atley, back in the team as the Tigers start the run to the finals.

“It is heaps easier when he is around, but he is just one of several we are waiting for to come back,” Jansen said.

An exercise scientist with renowned back strengthening clinic Kieser, in Melbourne, Jansen’s decision to play at Rochester revolved around “playing for a bit more fun and enjoyment”.

The 26-year-old, who polled strongly in South Australia’s Magarey Medal in his best-and-fairest-winning season with Central Districts in the SANFL, is at home among familiar faces at Rochester.

He played alongside Atley, Rochester coach Steve Stroobants and Jordan Harper while an assistant coach at North Melbourne’s VFL team.

Jansen had game-high tallies in disposals, contested possessions, clearances, groundball gets, score assists and free kicks for in Rochester’s three-point win.

He had 28 possessions, in keeping with his season-long average, included 15 contested (almost double the next best, nine from Mitch Bright) and a dozen groundball gets (Nathan McCarty’s eight was second best).

He had 13 clearances (Lachlan Harper and Adam McPhee both had four) and earned an amazing seven free kicks. He topped the Rochester team for score assists (five) and was second only to Daniel Russell for inside 50s.

Russell had nine, two more than Jansen and the big Tigers ruckman also outscored Jansen in the tackle count. Jansen had 10 tackles, but Russell finished with an even dozen.

Jansen rounded out his afternoon by taking his tally of goals for the season to nine with two majors on the weekend.

Without Shaun Atley, and his younger brother Joe, in the team much of the “grunt’’ work is left to Jansen.

Atley not only averaged 32 touches in his five games before heading off overseas, but he also averaged seven clearances. Joe Atley has only made two appearances for the Tigers this season — he will pay two at the end of the home-and-away season — where he averaged 26 possessions.

Earlier this season, in round four against Shepparton United, Jansen set a tone for his season with 40 possessions, 11 clearances, six inside 50s and three goals.

Jansen, who made his senior football debut way back in 2012 with Canberra-based club Belconnen Magpies, switched to SANFL club Central Districts in 2015 before spending the 2018-19 seasons with North Melbourne in the VFL competition.