Full Name: JIM JESS
Date of Birth: 25/01/1955
Height: 189 cm ( 6-2 1/2 )
Weight: 85 kg ( 13-5 )
Debut: 03/07/1976, Round 14, Collingwood
Last Game: 16/07/1988, Round 16, St Kilda
Total Games: 223
Total Goals: 161
Honours: Premiership 1980, Victorian Representative Team 1980 Games 3 Goals 2, All-Australian Team 1980.
Seasons: 1976-77, 1979, 1985, 1987-89
Total Games: 32
Total Goals: 64
Honours: Leading Goalkicker 1988.
Jim played most of his football at centre–half-back , although he did play at centre-half-forward and full-forward at various stages during his career. “ The Ghost “ as he was affectionately known , was a great footballer with the Tigers over 13 seasons. He was one of the last league players to consistently kick the torpedo punt overlong distances. At the old South Melbourne ground in Round 22 of 1980 he kicked a torpedo punt from just behind the wing to out of bounds next to the point post at the city end. On Easter Monday of 1980 against Fitzroy, Jim kicked off from full-back with a torpedo punt that sailed past the centre of the MCG.
He was renowned for his courage in the way he ran straight at the ball. Several of his opponents could testify that he was a fine exponent of the shirt-front. However, in June 1982 he was on the receiving end of a mighty bump from Fitzroy’s champion rover Gary Wilson which knocked him out. Jim was a strong, high mark, adaptable and very athletic.
He was originally rejected by St Kilda after coming under notice firstly with Avoca and then St Arnaud. As a 17 year-old he once kicked 16 goals for Avoca Seniors against Amphithaetre ; it was an incredible feat considering he started the game at full-back! Whilst at St Arnaud, he also won the North Central League Best & Fairest. At Richmond , he won the Best First Year Player award, in 1976, and was a member of the 1980 Premiership side and 1982 Grand Final side. He was awarded club Life Membership in 1985 and was vice captain in 1986. He won the Most Determined award in 1979 and was third in the 1980 Best & Fairest. He represented Victoria three times and was selected in the 1980 ALL-Australian team.
He first came under notice at Richmond , on Easter Monday of 1977 when 19th man in a game against the reigning premiers Hawthorn, and eventually came on the ground half-way through the last quarter. Richmond were trailing at that stage. Jim then grabbed three spectacular marks and followed up with three goals to give the Tigers a memorable victory by one point. His highest individual goal tally was 7 against Melbourne in Round 19 of 1987 and he kicked 5 goals or more, five times. He was also a very popular clubman, at Richmond , and well known for his practical jokes. He was almost lost to the club in 1985 when Collingwood and Richmond embarked on a players’ trade war ; however, the deal fell through at the last moment and ensured he remained at Richmond.
After leaving Richmond , he spent three seasons with Balranald where he was a member of two Premiership sides. In, 1992 he teamed up with Mark Lee to play in a Premiership with Tasmanian club, Burnie. Jim then returned to his home town of Avoca, as playing-coach and showed that he had lost none of his touch kicking 103 goals for the season, including 20 in one game. In 1994 he returned to Richmond along with several other former greats to work on a players welfare committee. He joined his son, Matthew, and played under former Collingwood rover Ron Wearmouth at Port Fairy in 1995. Away from football, Jim originally worked in the livestock industry and later ran a video store. He is the brother-in-law of former Richmond player Graeme Robertson.
Avoca Thirds 1968-69 ( Honours - Best & Fairest 1968 ) ; Avoca Seniors 1970-72, Games 57 ( Honours - Club Best & Fairest 1972 ) ; St Arnaud 1973-75, Games 60 ( Honours - North Central League Best & Fairest 1975 ) ; Maryborough 1973, Games 4.
Balranald 1989-91, Games 58 ( Honours - Premiership 1989-90, Victorian Country League Representative Team ) ; Burnie 1992 ( Honours - Premiership 1992 ) ; Avoca Captain/Coach 1993/94, ( Honours - Premiership, Leading Goalkicker Goals 103 ) ; Port Fairy 1995-96, Games 21.