Recently announced in the 2019 AFL New Zealand Heritage Team, Jasper Pittard says his move to North Melbourne has re-ignited his passion for football.
The defender was in the All-Australian squad of 40 during his time at Port Adelaide in 2016, but admits the ensuing seasons didn’t go to plan.
“I’m someone who I’d like to think, plays with my heart on my sleeve and puts everything into everything I do and certainly I felt like I did that at Port,” Pittard said on Fox Footy’s On The Mark.
“In some ways it was a little bit hurtful, feeling like where the club thought their direction probably wasn’t going to necessarily involve me anymore.
“So initially I was a little bit hurt by that, but I understand that it’s a business and they’ve got to think about the success for them in the future.”
Pittard said the opportunity to move to Victoria came at the perfect time, despite two years remaining on his contract.
“Potentially I’d just lost a bit of passion for footy and potentially having someone like that around wasn’t going to be super beneficial for the younger guys coming through,” he said of his final year at the Power.
“I know I was pretty valued there for the playing group and many of the coaches, but like I said, when you have a season like Port did last year and I was involved in that, it was pretty disappointing — but you had to make changes and unfortunately for me that was one of the changes (not playing at AFL level) they made.
“Maybe not walking away … but I had the two years left on the contract and I certainly had spoken to people close to me, and even people at Port that I’d be pretty happy to transition outside of footy once that contract was done, which would mean I’d be 29.
“A lot of people get to that age in the AFL industry and try and string out as many years as they can, I was probably just thinking that could be me and I was happy to explore opportunities outside and just get away from it.
“I found in hindsight the decision to move … I’ve really found that passion for footy again and I’ll probably be one of those guys trying to string out another few years.”
Pittard has cemented a spot in the Roos’ back six, playing the first seven games of the season and averaging almost 22 disposals a game.
Story – North Melbourne FC