Jason Akermanis: Wikis

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Jason Akermanis

Jason Akermanis in 2007
Personal information
Full name Jason Dean Akermanis
Nickname(s) Aker
Birth 24 February 1977 (1977-02-24) (age 33)
Place of birth Mildura, Victoria[1]
Recruited from Mayne (QAFL)
Draft NAT Zone Selection, 1994
Brisbane Bears
Height 177cm
Weight 85kg
Playing Career
Position(s) Midfield/Forward
Club Western Bulldogs
Number 21
Club
Years Team Pld G
1995–1996 Brisbane Bears 38 44
1997–2006 Brisbane Lions 210 263
2007– Western Bulldogs 68 112
Total 316 419
Representative
Years Team Pld G
1996–1998 Allies 3


Jason Dean "Aker" Akermanis (born 24 February 1977) is an Australian rules footballer who currently plays for the Western Bulldogs. Known for his outspoken nature, Akermanis made a name for himself as a Brownlow medal-winning and triple premiership player with the Brisbane Lions before leaving the club in highly controversial circumstances.

Contents

Early career

Akermanis grew up in Victoria, moving to Queensland in his youth where he was educated at St. Joseph's Nudgee College and played football with the Mayne Football Club where he was spotted by Brisbane Bears talent scouts.

AFL career

Akermanis was a solid contributor to the Brisbane Bears midfield (wing), with his pace and skills evident even early in his career. It was after the Brisbane Lions formed that he began to shine, bulking up significantly and a move to the forward line enabled him to make the most of his opportunities and develop a reputation as a goal sneak.

Akermanis became one of the Brisbane Lions' most talented players. His flamboyant talents and bleach-blond hair and contrasting black beard make him easy to identify on the field. At the Lions he made his name as a speedy midfielder or on-baller with blistering acceleration and an uncanny ability to kick exceptionally well with either foot, talents which helped him win the AFL's coveted Brownlow Medal in 2001.

He was also a crowd favourite for Lions fans, being famous for his handstands. Following a winning match, he usually performed a handstand and kissed the ground, much to the delight of his home crowd. Since joining the Western Bulldogs he's agreed not to perform them any more. Akermanis is also known for his goalscoring abilities. He was a winner of the AFL Goal of the Year 2002 award and has an ability to kick goals from extraordinary angles. In a match in 2005, he kicked two goals within minutes of each other from almost the exact same spot: deep in the right forward pocket on the run.

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Western Bulldogs

Early in the 2006 season, Akermanis was dropped from the Brisbane Lions side for Round 7, playing a game with the Suncoast Lions. This coincided with inflammatory comments he made about coach Leigh Matthews during the week and there was major speculation that his time at the club was up, only a few games after he won the 2005 club best and fairest award.

However, Akermanis was soon recalled to the side and responded with 22 disposals across half-back in the game against Port Adelaide Power and gave a post-match interview to Channel Nine which showed him smiling and visibly happy with his performance.

On 27 July 2006 it was reported that the coaching panel and senior playing group voted unanimously (12-0) to not allow him back into the club. On 6 September, it was reported that the Western Bulldogs were in front in the race to sign Akermanis for the 2007 season. On 15 September, Akermanis confirmed that he wanted to join the Bulldogs and it was then down to the Lions agreeing on the trade price[2], which they did on 9 October, when Brisbane Lions football manager Graeme Allan announced that the team had agreed to trade Akermanis to the Bulldogs[3].

At the end of the 2008 season, Akermanis made a statement that he will retire at the end of 2009 when his current 3 year contract expires however he has since displayed excellent form at the start of the 2009 season and has retracted his comment made earlier about retirement. Western Bulldogs coach Rodney Eade has said he has not ruled out the possibility of extending Akermanis' contract, pending on his performance for the rest of the season.[4] If Akermanis is to extend his contract with the Bulldogs beyond 2009, it will be substantially less pay than his present deal which is estimated at between $350,000 and $400,000 a year.[5]

Off field personality and controversy

Off the field, Akermanis is also very outspoken on issues concerning the Australian Football League and other codes.

Some of his controversies include:

  • Famously threatening to switch codes to rugby union if the Lions signed former Kangaroos Football Club star Wayne Carey[6].
  • Revealing to the media that Nigel Lappin had broken ribs before the 2003 Grand Final.
  • Posting verbal abuse of his coach at Brisbane, Leigh Matthews on his personal website blog (which he later denied, claiming that his brother filling in on managing his site for him).
  • Consistent calls for the AFL to expand in Asia.
  • Accusing the West Coast Eagles' Michael Braun of taking the performance enhancing drug EPO, causing criticism from Andrew Demetriou over bringing the game into disrepute. Akermanis never publicly named Braun, Channel Seven in Melbourne made the connection between Akermanis and Braun. Braun and the Eagles have sued Akermanis and Channel Seven for making false accusations.

His brash, over-confident demeanor often makes him a favourite target for abuse by some supporters of other clubs, although some others regard him as a colourful character and an antidote to the range of footballers who only speak in tedious clichés. He often appears on The AFL Footy Show. He co-wrote a book with Gary Smart titled AKA - The Battle Within, which was released in 2004.

Family

Akermanis is married to Megan Legge. They have two daughters, Charlotte and Sienna.

Akermanis is fluent in Auslan, often using it to communicate messages to his wife and her (deaf) family during matches. He can speak Spanish and intends to learn Japanese.

He and his younger brother Rory were the product of an extramarital affair between a Mildura tractor salesman, Denis Dezdjek and their mother Shona when she was living in Mildura in the late 1970s. This was revealed to Akermanis by his mother when he was 13. Akermanis bears a striking resemblance to his biological father. Akermanis originally believed he was of Latvian descent, but is actually Croatian through his biological father.[7]

Swine flu fears

In early June 2009, Akermanis triggered fears within the AFL of a swine flu outbreak when it was revealed he had contact with Ben Hannant of the Queensland State of Origin team just before Hannant was diagnosed with the disease. Akermanis himself was recovering from the common cold, and joked briefly on radio in Melbourne that he had gotten half the Queensland team sick. Akermanis tested negative for swine flu, alleviating fears of a swine flu infection with the Western Bulldogs.[8]

References

External links

Awards
Preceded by
Chris Scott
Nigel Lappin
Merrett-Murray Medal
1999 (shared with Justin Leppitsch)
2005
Succeeded by
Michael Voss
Simon Black
Preceded by
Shane Woewodin
Brownlow Medal
2001
Succeeded by
Simon Black

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