Zak Jones’ selection of the No. 3 was more than just a random pick.
A die-hard Saint in his youth – along with the rest of his family – Jones didn’t hesitate to snare the revered guernsey of the great Nathan Burke.
While the St Kilda legend’s namesake was bestowed upon Zak’s older brother and former Melbourne captain Nathan, the honour of the No. 3 is just as significant to the Saints’ new recruit.
It’s a tall order to inherit the legacy of the triple Trevor Barker Award winner, Team of the Century inductee, 11-time Victorian representative and St Kilda Hall of Fame Legend, but one Jones hopes to live up to over the coming years.
Unsurprisingly, Jones’ parents were rapt when they found their son would be calling the No. 3 guernsey his own in 2020.
“I rang up my folks and one of the first things they said was, ‘oh, you know Nathan Burke wore the No. 3’,” Jones told saints.com.au.
“‘You know we named your brother after him’.”
The famed jumper was last worn by recently departed Jack Steven, who notched up four Trevor Barker Awards to further elevate the No. 3’s standing.
After shedding the No. 10 following his departure from Sydney, Jones had the chance to pick up the guernsey seen by many as St Kilda royalty.
“‘Hilly’ got first choice and picked up No. 8, so then ‘Lethas’ (Simon Lethlean) sent me the list of numbers that were left,” Jones said.
“I saw the No. 3 there and knew I had to take it.
“‘Lethas’ said he’ll see what he can do, and when I came in a few days later it was all locked in.”
Jones grew up watching his childhood hero Robert Harvey, alongside the likes of Lenny Hayes, Nick Dal Santo and Leigh Montagna in what was one of the Saints’ most star-studded line-ups.
“I don’t remember a lot of ‘Burkey’ growing up, but I remember his iconic helmet and I know he was an absolute champion.
“It’s obviously a pretty significant number to the club and it means a lot to my family, so I’m really proud to have it on my back.”