Austin Gilgronis re-signed Maclean Jones for the 2021 Major League Rugby season. The 24-year old No.8/flanker (25 in June) is 6’1″ and 225 lbs.
The Gilgronis expected Jones to contribute to the team in 2020, however, visa issues affected his being able to play.
Maclean grew up in West Queensland and played junior rugby league with the West Panthers, had a trial with the Bulldog Rugby League U15s, and played with the Brisbane Broncos U15s, as well as with the Metropolitan North U15s.
While attending St. Joseph’s Nudgee College, he played for the first XV, as well as Cricket for the first XI. He played for the ARU National Gold Squad, the Queensland Reds U16s, as well as playing rugby league for the West Panthers Cyrill Connell Cup Team and for the Brisbane Broncos Elite Player Development Program.
In 2013, he decided to concentrate on rugby union. He played for the Australian Schoolboys on their UK and Ireland tour, Australia A Schoolboys, Queensland Rugby Football Schools, and for the Queensland 1, as well as for the ARU National Gold Squad again.
Maclean played for the Australia U20s and was vice-captain at the Junior World Cup at manchester and the captain for the Oceania Tournament in Brisbane. He received a rugby scholarship to the University of Queensland, where he played for Premier Grade, Premier Colts, and 1st XV sides while training with the Queensland Reds Wider Training Group.
He played in the NRC with Queensland Counties and then with the NSW Counties Eagles. He also played in 2017 with the Warringah Rats in the Shute Shield.
In 2019 he made his Super Rugby debut with the Waratahs and had hoped to join the Austin Gilgronis for the 2020 Major League Rugby season, however, visa delays rerailed his inclusion until 2021.
Austin Gilgronis Comments
Jones is an impressive defender with an impeccable work rate. Jones first burst on the scene in 2015 when he led the National Rugby Championship (NRC) in tackles per game average (18.4) at just 19 years old. Jones’ leadership earned him a captaincy role in the Australian U20s and Warringah Rats Schute Shield squads in the last five years.
AGs head coach Sam Harris knows Maclean Jones brings more than just defensive prowess. “Attack wise Maclean is an excellent link forward who carries like a back, defensively – I think his tape speaks for itself,” says Harris. “He’s a serious on-baller and ‘Mac’ will possibly be the leader of our stacked back row group; he leads with his actions, not his words.”
Jones most recently played for the Waratahs in Super Rugby on the professional level and for the Warringah Rats at the club level. Jones captained Warringah under AGs assistant coach and Wallabies legend, Mark Gerrard, and won Warringah’s second-ever Schute Shield final in 2017.
“I get along quite well with Mark Gerrard, he was my first-grade coach in Sydney last year and I was the captain, so we had a pretty good relationship,” says Maclean Jones. “So as [Mark] was making the transition he pinpointed me as a potential signing. I think [Mark] always saw I was good enough to do it and was always in my ear to stay on top of things and wait for my opportunity,” says Jones. “When it came around he was there to give me [an opportunity], which I’m thankful for.”
Maclean Jones lives down the road from AGs head coach Sam Harris, and the two had an opportunity to connect over a coffee post lockdown. “Maclean is a game-breaker, he comes from the same club in Sydney (Warringah) that both Mark and myself played and coached for,” says Coach Harris. “He is massively underrated and underappreciated and the AGs will happily benefit from Australia’s loss.”
To further the Australian connection in the 2021 AGs team, Maclean Jones and recently announced AG signee Mack Mason has been rugby teammates since they were 15 years old. Jones and Mason starred on the Australian U20s squad for two years together including a trip to the U20s World Championships in 2017. In 2016, Maclean Jones captained the U20s squad to a historic win over the All Blacks U20s squad; the match-winning kick was converted by none other than Mack Mason.
Jones follows American professional sport religiously and has been thoroughly interested in Major League Rugby since 2018. “The MLR has a lot of momentum, the Americas are a massive market, the media coverage is certainly catching eyes this side, and the footy is getting a lot better.”
Maclean Jones is thrilled to get stateside and hyped about living in Austin. He’s been following the AGs closely, even watching all five AG matches on Facebook Live last season. “I’ve been following the AGs and MLR for a while now – I’m a huge fan of the classic American sports too,” Jones boasts a Red Sox baseball cap. “Yea the AG orange is like classic Texas, and there’s nothing more American than playing at a racetrack,” Jones laughs.
Welcome to the AGs, Maclean Jones!
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