DOB: 21 March 1968
From: South Fremantle/Port Hedland/Southern Districts (NT)/Woodville, Selection #6, 1990 National Draft
Number: 13 (1991-1994)
Games: 47 (54 total)
Goals: 201 (208 total)
Before arriving at Melbourne, the 1985 Teal Cup All-Australian's career had taken him all over the country, with stints at South Fremantle (twice), Port Hedland, Kalgoorlie and Darwin before joining Woodville in the SANFL. He had played 16 games for South Fremantle before moving to the territory for two seasons with Southern Districts. After kicking 104 goals across 15 games in the Northern Territory he was spotted by Woodville and played with them for two years.
He was an instant smash in Adelaide and was drafted after dominating the SANFL with 101 goals in 1990. Despite the Crows' General Manager having seen Jakovich's talents up close at Woodville as club chairman, Adelaide were unable to secure him for their initial squad because he hadn't met the residential requirements of three years playing in the state.
On his arrival at Melbourne Jakovich played two unsuccessful games early in 1991. With both Darren Bennett and Darren Cuthbertson tearing up the seniors at various times during the early parts of the season there was little opportunity for Jakovich who amused himself by destroying opposition backlines in the reserves competition. Eventually, with Bennett and Cuthbertson both losing form, Jakovich was recalled for for the Round 14 clash with Hawthorn and finally started to show some form with 3.5.
From then on in he ran riot in 1991, kicking bags of 8,6,6,8,7,11 and 5 in his next seven games to claim the club goalkicking title in both grades. He ended his first season of league footy with 8 goals in the Elimination Final win and a further six in the losing Semi Final to cap off one of the more remarkable debut seasons in club and league history. It earned him a three year contract at the end of the season.
With expectations sky high the next year, and a new three year contract under his belt, Jakovich found himself dropped from the side for the opening Fosters Cup match against Footscray. He was back in the side in time to boot eight in the first game against Geelong, but was criticised by coach John Northey for his performances in Melbourne's next two games. After a Round 3 loss to Adelaide, in which Jakovich kicked five goals, Northey said "I hope he learned a lesson out of today. If you just to try to cheat the way he did today, it won't come off." Jakovich only played two more games before surgery for a groin injury cost him three months on the sidelines.
From there, he was a regular injury victim. Though he kicked 40 goals from 11 games in 1992, 39 from nine in 1993, and 51 from 13 in 1994, he never played a full season again. He was even dropped to the Reserves for four weeks early in 1993 and told to earn his spot - responding by booting 23 goals. He'd gone into that season after losing 10 kilograms over summer.
Not surprising, as somebody who had been banned from kicking and forced to handball as an Under 19 at South Fremantle, critics pointed towards his individualistic play as one of his biggest downfalls. Even John Northey was moved to criticise him for not chasing during 1992. A back injury and surgery for a hernia didn't help, and he was restricted to just 11 games in his second year. He later traced his back complaints to his childhood, having first hurt it at 12-years-old lifting a box of vegetables.
Fittingly a bizarre career for the Demons ended with 8 goals against Hawthorn in Round 17, 1994 - his 8.1 accuracy a mirror image of the 4.10 he'd kicked against the Hawks earlier in the year. He then missed the rest of the season to have back surgery. Despite his slow start Jakovich was the fastest player to 50 goals in league history, in nine games, and equalled John Coleman's 21 games to 100 goals.
Despite signing a one year contract, Jakovich was delisted by the Demons in the 1995 pre-season after appearing a pre-season camp overweight and failing to attend several rehabilitation sessions. He failed to entice another club to take him in the pre-season draft and missed the season. He was then drafted by the Western Bulldogs with selection nine in that year's National Draft. The Bulldogs first became interested in him after a chance call to try and secure finals tickets for a sick fan He failed to kick a goal in his debut for the Bulldogs, and managed just seven in seven games for the year before retiring.
Jakovich was named by David Schwarz as the most talented player he ever played with, but disappeared from the scene rapidly once his league career had ended. After being a regular panellist on the early days of the Footy Show, and one of the most flamboyant stars on-field, he left the Bulldogs and wasn't seen again until a shock one-off appearance on the Footy Show in 1997. He remained out of the public spotlight until 2018, variously said to have been working in the mines in Western Australia and the fishing industry in coastal New South Wales.
In September 2009 it was announced that Jakovich would make his first public appearance in many years at the Chris Mainwaring Tribute match on Saturday October 10 in Perth but he was later dropped from the list of players.
|Round 20, 1991
|1993 Fosters Cup R1
|Round 7, 1993 Reserves
|Round 17, 1994
Inside Football - 26/07/1989
Age - 02/07/1991, 22/12/1991, 10/01/1992, 12/04/1992, 14/02/1993, 26/03/1993, 15/01/1995, 22/01/1995, 15/02/1995, 02/06/1995, 10/12/1995
Canberra Times - 23/05/1993, 15/02/1995