By Pat McLeod
Peter Jones can’t quite shed the traits of an open-side flanker.
It’s been a long time since the 61-year-old actually wore the Number 7, but every weekend he is still playing that role - always busy; indefatigable; the go-to man; doesn’t talk, just does; leads by example; the tougher the better; ultimate clubman.
Through 2021 Jones has continued in his ‘official role’ as Second Grade manager at the Bond Rugby Club, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
On any given Saturday his tall figure will also be seen carrying water for thirds, running messages for Firsts and running the line for the women’s … plus a myriad of other tasks needed to keep a rugby club functioning.
Oh, and he has also been a sponsor of the Breakers-cum-Bond club since 2002 - through his business, ASAP Mobile Mechanics.
“I still love my rugby and I just want to be involved,” is his simple explanation.
“I can have the worst day at work and then walk into Bond on a Thursday night for training and forget about everything else. I get the jerseys out, get the water bottles full, run around … and nothing else matters.
“You belong to something. The same as back in my playing days. When we lose, I feel it. When we win, I feel it. You are part of it. You are mates. You have got each other’s back. That camaraderie, it builds itself.”
Jones doesn’t chase backslaps or a thank-you. He’s just happy to be part of Team Bond.
“We all contribute in a way, from the administrators, coaches, the players, the support staff, the medical staff, the stats people - all the people who help out so we can put together the best possible performance on a Saturday,” he said.
Like everyone at Bond rugby, Jones is anxious to see what the gameplan is post lockdown.
At the moment only Third grade can’t make the finals, the other five Bond teams are still in the finals equation. But there are so many questions to be answered.
When will lockdown actually end? How will the remainder of the season be formatted … catch-up games, finals, etc?
Whatever the outcome, Jones remains optimistic. He understands rugby culture and rugby clubs and is loving what he sees at Bond.
His knowledge is based on the solid foundations of hard-earned experience - junior rugby as a six-year-old at the Naremburn Junior Rugby Union Club (in the Lower North Shore area of Sydney); a Sydney suburban rep player in his mid-20s while at the Cammeray Rugby Club; player-coach for the Canadian Toronto Nomads club; more Sydney suburban footy for Chatswood in the Kentwell Cup competition; half a season with Helensvale in the Gold Coast competition in 1999; then, with the boots hung up, club sponsor for the Breakers in 2002.
“I came down to the Breakers because I knew Warren Carey (the club’s president). He was my Under 16 coach at Naremburn,” recalls Jones.
“At that stage I was busy with work and family, but wanted to be involved in some way, so I signed on as a sponsor.
“I was there when they won their first (and only) premiership in 2004. (Bond coach Grant Anderson and former international and now Bond backline conductor Lloyd Johansson both played that 2004 season for Breakers).
“By the time Breakers became Bond (in 2014) I had more time on my hands so took on the role as Colts manager.”
Jones was not only the manager, but was on-field when Luke Evans converted a try late in double extra time to win Bond Colts the 2015 premiership – the Bull Sharks first and only flag in the Brisbane competition.
“I just happened to be running the kicking tee that day against Brothers and so was beside Luke when he nailed it. Such a great feeling.”
Jones says he has remained a sponsor for the club because he can see the value.
“I have been a mechanic since I left school,” he said. “I started sponsoring the Breakers because I just wanted to stay involved with the sport.
“But over the years I have seen what great value sponsorships provide. Often it is the unseen things – the medical kits, the warm-up jackets – all the little things that keep a footy club ticking.
“Bond University helps out massively with the club, but the sponsors fill any gaps, big or small. Yes, I do get some work through the sponsorship. Often a player will come to me and say: ‘Hey, one of the boys told me you’re a mechanic’.
“But being a sponsor means you are part of this team and so you are part of the camaraderie.”
Jones has also been around long enough to appreciate what is happening at Bond.
“This year we are a lot better than what we were last year. And last year we were better than the year before,” he says.
“More of the younger players are coming to Bond and staying here instead of going up the highway to Brisbane. Third Grade began at the club last year and that was a huge bonus.
“Last year First Grade made the finals for the first time (under the Bond banner). During the year we were labelled as a club without culture. But, compared to other clubs we have been around for a very short time and we are building. We are creating our own unique identity.
“I can see that and it is one of the things that gives me the most satisfaction. You see the players becoming closer off the field and that means they are there for each other on the field.
“Pardon the pun, but that ‘bond’ is growing and growing.”