Written by Damian Gill
“He is too good for here, he should have played AFL.”
It isn’t a famous quote or attributed to anyone in particular but when you talk about the local superstar that is Jaye Bowden these are the remarks that frequently ring through your ears, and the sentiment is undeniable.
Jaye Bowden has dominated local football like few have in the modern era and it is near unthinkable an AFL club has at no stage come a-knocking. But what it has meant is that Tasmanians have been treated to a freakish football talent on their doorstep; a player capable of regularly winning games of footy off his own boot.
199 games, 445 goals, three premierships (two SFL, one TSL) two Peter Hudson Medals, three Alastair Lynch Medals and five-time club Best & Fairest. It is a remarkable football resume and this week, the Tasmanian State League’s most decorated player will add another accolade to the long list.
Bowden will notch game 200 for his beloved Glenorchy Football Club when he runs out against the Tigers in Round 20. He has pulled on the black and white since Under 13s and has played regular senior football since 16 years of age, and in that time, he and the club have achieved a lot.
“It has come around pretty quick, to be honest, you are 18 and you blink and all of a sudden you are 28…it sneaks up on you,” he said.
Bowden has ridden the waves of a career at one football club tasting the trials and triumphs of senior footy.
“I’ve been through a couple of builds. When I first came through we built for a few years and had some success and then we had a lean run for a few years and then Aaron (Cornelius) came on board and we built back up again to where we are now.
“It is a bit of a different perspective now I was one the young kids first of all and now I am one of the old heads, trying to get the best out of the young kids.”
For any player Premierships reign supreme but when it comes to individual honours despite all the medals and accolades that have come his way over 11 dominant years of senior football it is the life membership at the club that is his most cherished.
“The flags are well above anything but the life membership probably means the most to me, I’ll look back and be pretty proud of it.
“Individual honours you don’t aim for but if they come along the way you take them and are certainly humbled by them.”
In an era where loyalty is not common place, the high flying Bowden has remained committed to Glenorchy, despite much rival and interstate interest.
“I have family history at the club which is why I joined the club in the first place but like anyone that has spent a lot of time at a football club, it is the friendships and people that you have been on the journey with that keep you there.
“It always just felt like home and I’ve never had any reason to change or wanted to change.”
Widely considered as hard done by, a player that should have been given a shot at an AFL dream, the reigning Lynch medalist doesn’t think too much about what could have been.
“When you are younger it bites at you a bit, probably because of how you are talked up but you learn pretty quickly and it comes with age too that you need a bit of luck.
“I look back now and I’m not regretful if not getting drafted is the worst thing that happens to me then life is pretty good to me.”
Round 20 will mark a major milestone for Bowden but he is hoping that isn’t the last cause for celebration for him and his Magpies in 2017. He has booted 49 goals so far this season and is on his way to another Hudson medal and the goalkicking superstar strongly believes Glenorchy can go back-to-back if they find their groove come September.
“It is really even this season. On our day we can beat anyone but you can say the same of the other four in the top five and as we have learnt in 2015 it only takes a month of good footy and you have a chance.
“On our day we can beat anyone but you can say the same of the other four in the top five and as we have learnt in 2015 when we lost, it only takes a month of good footy and you have a chance.
“Our best I truly believe is as good as anyone’s, we need a bit of luck with injuries but so does everyone. You just need that four weeks of good footy.”
And while the eye remains firmly fixed on the ’17 prize and again lifting the cup, 2018 may see less of Bowden strutting his stuff at KGV as he seeks some foreign sun.
“I haven’t thought about it too much…I might need to escape a little bit of the Tassie winter at some time,” he joked.
“If that it is the case I wouldn’t be able to play a full year but we will have a look at it at the end of the year and what it all looks like.”