Akermanis in 2007
|Full name||Jason Dean Akermanis|
|Date of birth||24 February 1977|
|Place of birth||Mildura, Victoria, Australia|
|Original team(s)||Mayne (QAFL)|
|Draft||NAT Zone Selection, 1994, Brisbane Bears|
|Height||177 cm (5 ft 10 in)|
|Weight||85 kg (187 lb)|
|Position(s)||Midfielder / Forward|
|1995–1996||Brisbane Bears||38 (44)|
|1997–2006||Brisbane Lions||210 (263)|
|2007–2010||Western Bulldogs||77 (114)|
|Representative team honours|
|1996–1998||The Allies||3 (0)|
|International team honours|
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 2010.
|Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com|
Jason Dean Akermanis (born 24 February 1977) is a former professional Australian rules football player who played in the Australian Football League (AFL). He is a Brownlow Medallist and triple premiership player who played for the Brisbane Bears, Brisbane Lions and Western Bulldogs.
Akermanis was born in Mildura, Victoria to a Canadian father John Akermanis, and an Australian mother Shona Carswell, but moved to Brisbane at 9 years of age. Upon arriving in Queensland in 1986, Akermanis signed up to play for the Mayne under-10s side.
When he was 13, Akermanis discovered that he was not the son of his mother's former partner, John Akermanis. His biological father was Denis Dezdjek, a mechanic from Mildura who his mother had an affair with. He was educated at Wavell State High School then at St. Joseph's Nudgee College and played football with the Mayne Football Club in the QAFL where he was spotted by Brisbane Bears talent scouts. He completed year 12 at high school in 1995, during his first year with the Brisbane Bears.
Akermanis was a solid contributor to the Brisbane Bears midfield (wing), with his pace and skills evident even early in his career.
Akermanis made his debut in Round 4 of the 1995 AFL season, he had a solid debut, accumulating 19 disposals and kicking 1 goal in the Bears loss to Carlton. He played a total of 17 games in this debut season and kicking 12 goals.
The 1996 AFL season saw Akermanis play 21 games and kick 32 goals for the season, he doubled his disposal count from the previous season to finish with 328 total disposals for the season. His season was highlighted with a 19 disposal & 6 goal effort against the West Coast Eagles in Round 17.
It was after the Brisbane Lions formed that he began to shine, bulking up significantly, and a move to the forward line enabled him to make the most of his opportunities and develop a reputation as a goal sneak. Akermanis played 34 games across the 1997-98 seasons and tallied 532 disposals and 32 goals.
1999 AFL season saw Akermanis have a breakout year, winning the Merrett–Murray Medal as Brisbane's Best & Fairest player for the season. Jason gathered 469 disposals and booted 16 goals for the season.
Akermanis became one of the Brisbane Lions' most talented players. His flamboyant talents and bleached-blond hair and contrasting black beard make him easy to identify on the field. At the Lions he made his name as a speedy midfielder or on-baller with blistering acceleration and an uncanny ability to kick exceptionally well with either foot, talents which helped him win the AFL's Brownlow Medal in 2001 in which he polled 23 votes to beat Adelaide's Andrew McLeod. The 2001 season saw Jason tally 510 disposals and kick 28 goals for the season, ultimately capping off a magnificent week/season, finishing as a premiership player.
The 2002 AFL season saw Akermanis impact the scoreboard by kicking 49 goals for the season, and becoming a premiership player again, as the Brisbane Lions defeated Collingwood in the decider. Akermanis played with a torn right adductor, in which he suffered early in the first quarter, this effected his ability to kick with his dominant right foot, resulting in Jason kicking on his left foot for the majority of the game, he eventually kicked a left foot snap over his shoulder late in the last quarter in which would be the sealer, guiding the Lions to victory.
Akermanis is also known for his goal-scoring abilities. He was a winner of the AFL Goal of the Year 2002 award and had an ability to kick goals from acute angles. In a match in 2005, he kicked two goals within minutes of each other from almost exactly the same spot: deep in the right forward pocket on the run. Early in the 2006 season, Akermanis was dropped from the Brisbane Lions side for Round 7, playing a game with the Suncoast Lions. This coincided with inflammatory comments that he made about the coach, Leigh Matthews, during the week, and there was speculation that his time at the club was up only a few months after he had won the 2005 club best and fairest award. However, Akermanis was soon recalled to the side and responded with 22 disposals across half-back in the game against Port Adelaide, and a post-match interview with Channel Nine showed him smiling and visibly happy with his performance. On 27 July 2006 it was reported that the coaching panel and senior playing group had voted unanimously (12–0) to not allow him back into the club.
On 6 September, it was reported that the Western Bulldogs were leading in the race to sign Akermanis for the 2007 season. On 15 September, Akermanis confirmed that he wanted to join the Bulldogs. It was then down to the Lions agreeing on the trade price, which they did on 9 October, when Brisbane Lions football manager Graeme Allan announced that the team had agreed to trade Akermanis to the Bulldogs.
At the end of the 2008 season, Akermanis made a statement that he would retire at the end of 2009 when his three-year contract expired, however he displayed excellent form at the start of the 2009 season, and later retracted his earlier comment about retirement. Western Bulldogs coach Rodney Eade said he had not ruled out the possibility of extending Akermanis's contract depending on his performance for the rest of the season. He then signed with the Bulldogs for another year, hoping to play in a fourth premiership side. It is assumed his contract would be for substantially less pay than his previous deal, which is estimated at between $350,000 and $400,000 a year.
In July 2010 it was announced that the Western Bulldogs had terminated Akermanis' contract due to the club's judgement that the two were on different paths. At the time of his sacking, he was one of only two former Brisbane Bears players left in the AFL, with the other being Daniel Bradshaw. He and Bradshaw were also the last remaining members of the Brisbane Lions inaugural 1997 list.
Akermanis began playing with the Glenorchy Football Club in the Tasmanian State League in 2011 as well as playing a number of one-off games at various country clubs. In 2013, he became captain-coach of the North Albury Football Club in the Ovens & Murray Football League.
Off the field, Akermanis was often very outspoken on issues concerning the Australian Football League and other codes. He often appeared as a panelist on The AFL Footy Show. In the late 2000s, Akermanis had a regular newspaper column, which, in contrast to many other footballers' columns, was highly politically incorrect, which caused several controversies. Among the most prominent controversies were:
Some of Akermanis's other media faux pas included threatening to switch codes to rugby union in 2002 if the Brisbane Lions signed former Kangaroos Football Club star Wayne Carey, leaking to the media that teammate Nigel Lappin had broken ribs before the 2003 Grand Final, and ongoing criticism of his coach at the Brisbane Lions, Leigh Matthews. Akermanis' dismissal from the Western Bulldogs was ultimately partly related to leaking confidential team information to the media as part of a media career which the Bulldogs believed was taking an undue amount of his focus.
Akermanis co-wrote a book with Gary Smart titled AKA – The Battle Within, which was released in 2004. He released his autobiography named Open Season in mid-2011, which further details his messy departures from both the Brisbane Lions and the Western Bulldogs.
In October 2014, Akermanis was suspended for four matches as head coach of the North Albury Football Club after being found guilty of breaching the AFL Victoria cyber-bullying policy in regards to several umpires' decisions during the 2014 Ovens & Murray Football League season.
By 2019, Akermanis had been banned by 3 golf clubs for alleged cheating incidents. Akermanis denies the clubs’ claims.
Akermanis is married to Megan Legge, a speech pathologist. They have three daughters. Akermanis learned Auslan to communicate with his wife's hearing-impaired parents. He also speaks Spanish.
|Season||Team||No.||Games||Totals||Averages (per game)|
|Brownlow Medal votes|
|Green / Bold = Won|