THE hardest story Sarah Jones ever wrote stands out to her.
“I was up early with my daughter, and I turned on the radio,’’ she told the audience at the Echuca-Moama Sportstar Awards on Monday night at the Moama Bowling Club.
‘‘My husband is the executive producer at Fox Footy, so I ran and woke him up.
“‘We have to go to work,’ I said. ‘Phil Walsh is dead.’”
When you work in football, the big stories are usually bad ones, Jones told the crowd.
The other big story she remembers vividly is the Essendon supplements saga.
“By the end of that, we in the media were as sick of it as you were,” Jones said. “I was even more so as I’m an Essendon supporter!”
The thing that stands out about Jones as she speaks is that after nearly 20 years working in sport, she still has so much love for it.
Inspired by watching the 1988 Olympics with her mum, Jones decided she wanted to write about sport for a living.
Her journey has taken her everywhere, from the Sydney Olympics opening mail, to Fox Footy Channel.
She became a part of Fox Sports when Foxtel lost the AFL rights, a move that saw her cover the 2010 Winter Olympics and Commonwealth Games.
It also meant in 2012 a trip to cover the big one – the London Olympic Games. “It was always my dream,” Jones said.
She got to see it all, including Anna Meares’ gold in the sprint, and Usain Bolt’s three gold medals. But being there to watch came after a conversation with Eddie McGuire.
“I had gone to bed early as I was pretty tired, so Eddie asked me about it the next morning. When I said I had an early night, he told me, ‘You are going to go to every event. It will make you better at your job for having seen it.’ I took that on board and went to every event I could.”
Her family is now her number one focus, but football is her job. “It’s a full-time job just keeping up with football,” she said. “It means I probably won’t be back in Echuca again until after the grand final.”
Despite all her success, Jones is still just the girl from Echuca-Moama.
“I’m grateful to everyone in this town for making me who I am, and for helping me get to where I went in my life.”