Callum Coleman-Jones has grown as a person and footballer since one of the most challenging and highly publicised moments of his career in 2020.
The North Melbourne recruit says an incident on the Gold Coast which saw him suspended for 10 matches made him “delve a bit deeper” into himself and come out the other side “a better person”.
“It was a very hard time for myself, but obviously I’d let quite a lot of people down, hurt the club (Richmond) and embarrassed my family,” Coleman-Jones told North Media.
“It really made me reflect on certain behaviours in my life, delve a bit deeper into myself and work on myself off the field.”
Coleman-Jones worked to earn back the respect of his family, teammates, and the wider football community.
He wasn’t going to let one mistake define him.
“On the field I trained hard to get back, but it was more about becoming more self-aware, working with some people, understanding why I’d do things in a certain way, and it’s helped me grow as a person massively,” the 22-year-old said.
“I’ve taken leaps and bounds in that area. Reflecting back, sometimes those hardest times make you come out the other side a much better person.”
Coleman-Jones bounced back, and rewarded the Tigers on-field, booting 11 goals in eight games this season.
“It made me mature an unbelievable amount. Looking back to that year or so ago, I’ve come a long way and it’s helped my footy hugely,” he said.
“If I’m going through a tough period in the season, or a bit of adversity, I can reflect on some of the learnings I’ve found from that and use them in my everyday life.”
While he and North could have played hard ball, allowing him to join the club effectively for nothing via the Pre-Season Draft, the South-Australian was keen to repay the faith from his former team.
“Richmond was unbelievable for me in that time (2020),” Coleman-Jones said.
“They looked after me, made sure I was OK, helped me through that period to get back and gave me all the support they could.
“When the trade period came around, I always wanted there to be a fair deal where Richmond got looked after as well. I didn’t want to leave them short-handed.
“I was happy a deal could get done in the end and not have to use the pre-season draft.”
Coleman-Jones has signed with North for the next four seasons.