Liam Jones has signed with Western Bulldogs as an unrestricted free agent after sitting out the 2022 season.

The 30-year-old will return to the club that drafted him at pick 32 in the 2008 AFL Draft and played 66 games, predominantly as a forward.

However, at the end of the 2014 season, Jones requested a trade to Carlton in exchange for pick 46.

Jones joined the Blues for seven seasons before he retired prematurely due to vaccination mandates.

The Carlton defender quickly became a force to be reckoned with in defence, becoming one of the premier interceptors of the competition, adding 95 games between 2015 and 2021.

Luke Beveridge and the Bulldogs are in desperate need of a key tall down back, with Ryan Gardner, Alex Keath and Zaine Cordy struggling to hold off opposition attacks.

Jones’ aerial prowess will add another dynamic to his former side, bolstering their defence.

The Dogs – who lost the 2021 premiership to Melbourne – failed to replicate their impressive form in 2022 and were unable to make any inroads in the finals series.

Accumulating 1812 points against throughout the season, the club ranked 11th compared to their fourth sitting the year prior (2021).

Jones is excited by the prospect of returning to the Western Bulldogs.

“I’m just so grateful to have the opportunity to play at the highest level again,” Jones said.

“This Club gave me a chance all those years ago and I’m excited by the prospect of returning and helping this group continue to strive for success.”

“Having started my career at the Club, I feel a sense of belonging in the red, white and blue and can’t wait to meet all the players and staff over the coming weeks.

“I learnt plenty from my time at Carlton and hopefully I can bring some of that knowledge and experience over to the Dogs to help support the great players in our back half.” 

Despite the arrival of Jones, Cordy has been reported to look around as a free agent, according to SEN.

List manager Sam Power made comment on the duo, whilst the club is also keen on Fremantle’s Rory Lobb.

“He’s really excited, he’s a fantastic guy Liam, he’s obviously played a lot of really good football … particularly the last few years at Carlton as a key defender,” Power said on Jones.

“That’s an area of the ground we’ve been really keen to address and also what Liam offers on a personal level as well.

“Not only what Liam can bring on-field to our defensive stocks but also the maturity and experience he can bring to our group which is still relatively quite young.”

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