Fremantle Dockers young gun Jye Amiss’ remarkable journey from Busselton to the big stage
Blooding a one-game teenager for Fremantle’s biggest occasion in seven years seemed like a massive call.
But when you dig a little deeper, you soon realise Jye Amiss is no ordinary 19-year-old.
Amiss stunned in his second AFL game, booting two goals including a clutch after-the-siren effort to finish the opening half as the Dockers pulled off a remarkable elimination final comeback against the Western Bulldogs at Optus Stadium.
From his current coach Justin Longmuir to those who saw his remarkable rise from country footy to the AFL via a colts season for the ages, nobody was too surprised the Busselton-bred talent would stand up on the big stage, even with limited preparation after serious kidney surgery in May which threatened to de-rail his debut season.
Fellow Busso boy and former East Perth colt turned Brisbane Lions midfielder James Tunstill spent countless hours on the road with Amiss for footy last season, from training in Boyanup on Mondays to Busselton on Wednesdays and WAFL and State games in Perth on weekends.
They shared a love for country music and a desire to make it in the AFL which became a reality for the pair, who first played against each other in the Busselton under-nines competition for Towns and Countrys respectively, within 24 hours.
Tunstill said as they became closer mates, Amiss opened up to him about his remarkable family story with mum Janette and step father Tyrone fostering half-a-dozen children in their South West home.
“We did a five-hour roundtrip every week so it ended up being a fair number of hours in the car with him,” Tunstill told The West Australian.
“You learn each other’s music interests and podcasts as well, we found out that we both enjoyed our country music so that’s what we mainly listened to on the trips.
“We both like Alan Jackson a lot and Luke Combs and a few American lads.
“We spent a lot of time together which made the trips go a bit quicker I think.
“I kind of learned that about Jye (the fostering) as we started becoming closer mates.
“It’s pretty fascinating and pretty unique and probably explains why he’s such a humble person and well driven as well.
“He’s a really good role model to those kids and has made his mum really proud of the man he’s become because he’s a great fella.”
Amiss and Tunstill both made their senior debut for Busselton Magpies last year and 12 months later had already got their first taste of the AFL.
Tunstill has played three games at the top level and Amiss is about to match that feat when the Dockers take on Collingwood in a cut-throat semi-final at the MCG on Saturday night.
“Busselton Magpies to the MCG and Optus Stadium is a fair shift so it does seem a bit wild to reflect on but I think, especially Jye, he’s ready for the big stage and he looks comfortable out there,” he said.
Shortly after getting snapped up by the Dockers with pick eight in last year’s draft, Amiss spoke about his fostering role which he felt made him a “much better person”.
“Living with the six foster children made me a much better person, and having them travel through the house, particularly in my last year of footy, was pretty special,” Amiss said in an interview with South Western Times in December.
“There is a family of four that has been with us for five years now. The oldest has been with us two more years than that and then recently we have had a young Indigenous boy.
“They have been a massive influence on me — getting to know new people, new cultures and new backgrounds and getting to know them very quick.
“When they first entered my life as a little tacker I was sort of saying, ‘This is my mum, go away’, but they definitely grew on me and over the years I grew to share and be that sort of empathetic person and let them lead the life I am living.”
Proud manager Paul Peos was astonished with how well Amiss handled his draft-year juggling act which included Year 12 studies, part-time work at a local shop, training twice a week, games and increasing attention from AFL recruiters.
“Even as his performances grew throughout the year and he started getting a bit more attention and certainly a lot more expectation start to grow on him, he just kept his method, his preparation and his way,” Peos said.
“There’s certainly some in-built country boy nature about him and the family around him keeps him nice and humble also.
“With pressure and expectation and being in the limelight, you can understand when young boys waver along the way but he’s able to hold it in really good balance.”
WA Football Commission state talent manager Adam Jones first saw Amiss play late in his bottom-aged colts year and it didn’t take long before he realised they had a special player on their hands.
He was then invited to the WA under-19s summer program, his first State squad since under-12s because of a horror run of injuries.
“We were aware that he was from Busselton and had plenty of upside and a nice accurate kick so we got him involved in that summer squad program,” Jones said.
“It was over that pre-season that we realised we could have a special player and his footy started to go on a pretty high trajectory that year and the rest is history from there.
“Then State 19s coach Marc Webb talked a lot about his coachability and eagerness to seek feedback and was good at applying what had been told to his game and training.
“He’s a nice young man and with his background with the foster kids at home, you could see that there was a deeper, more humble and caring side to him and that he was reasonably mature for his age.”
East Perth colts coach Daniel Curtis, who saw the classy left-footer kick a competition-high 51.15 in 15 colts games last season to storm up the draft charts, highlighted the level-headed teen’s ability to adapt to every level he’s played.
“The biggest thing that Jye does in all of his preparation, on every step that he’s jumped through, was maintain that consistency in the way he prepares and makes sure he’s nice and composed in the highest of pressure situations,” Curtis said.
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