AS THE countdown to this year's free agency, trade and draft periods continues, we're looking back at how some current Blues arrived at the Club.

Kicking things off, we rewind six years to look at the acquisition of No.14, Liam Jones.

The deal

In the days of convoluted trade deals, this was as simple as it gets in 2014.

While it took a while for the trade to go down (made official just five minutes before the deadline), Jones was traded for Carlton’s third-round draft pick (No.46 overall).

How it has transpired

Well, who would’ve thought we’d end up here?

Jones himself would be the first to admit that his first two years in Navy Blue didn’t go to plan, despite kicking a goal in the first 75 seconds of his Carlton debut.

However, it’s been in defence where Jones has truly been a revelation and of the great success stories of the AFL in recent seasons.

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Of course, Jones’ story has been oft-told: he arrived at Carlton as a forward, having finished in the top 10 in the competition for contested marks as a 20-year-old in 2011.

Needing to change things up, Jones’ commitment to a new role in defence started in the VFL in 2017, and his form couldn’t be ignored.

Only injury has kept Jones out of 14 games since then, with a concussion in 2019 stopping him in his tracks for a potential All-Australian berth.

His partnership with Jacob Weitering has gone from strength-to-strength, with the duo being locks for the key defensive posts in Carlton’s back six every single week.

The best moment

Just four games into his defensive career, Jones was best-on-ground against eventual Grand Finalists Adelaide in 2017.

However, given where he has come from, Jones’ greatest achievement may very well have come in the pre-season of 2020.

Back in February, Carlton announced its leadership group for the upcoming season. Alongside the next generation in Sam Walsh and Jacob Weitering, Jones’ name was the other addition.

It was a significant gong for the 29-year-old, who clearly has the admiration of everyone at Ikon Park.

Speaking on the additions to the group, co-captain Patrick Cripps said “Why they got in is because of the standards they live”.

Where to from here?

Contracted until 2022, there’s still plenty more left in the tank for the high-flying defender.

There’s an argument that this year was Jones’ most consistent at the level, especially taken into account that it was his first season playing a full quota of games.

An ever-present of Dale Amos’ defensive set-up, Jones gets the big jobs each week and has a partnership which grows with Weitering each week.

With 76 Navy Blue games under his belt, getting his name on the locker with a century of games for his club will be in Jones’ sights. And you can’t say he wouldn’t deserve it.

By the numbers at Carlton

76 games
16 games
34 AFLCA votes
Seven Brownlow votes
No.1 at Carlton for one percenters in 2018, 2019 and 2020
No.1 at Carlton for intercepts per game in 2018 and 2020