A gutsy and versatile midfielder, Jong lets his football prowess do the talking, but is also proud of his cultural heritage, which has always been a point of interest.
Jong’s love of sport came from an early age. A talented basketballer at first, Jong was attracted to Australian rules football, where he felt a strong sense of community at the Glen Waverley Rovers Junior Football Club.
“I think sport is a really good equaliser,” Jong said.
“It’s great in the way that everyone can come together from all walks of life.”
Featuring in Sport and Recreation Victoria’s Fair Play Code campaign, Jong is an ambassador of the code and a strong believer that everyone should have access to participate in sport and recreation in a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment.
“It’s so important to respect everyone, no matter what the differences are. If you can’t respect people and where they come from, then you probably shouldn’t be playing sport.”
Named as one of the 10 AFL multicultural ambassadors alongside the likes of West Coast’s Nic Natanui and Richmond’s Bachar Houli, Jong’s role includes promoting multiculturalism in the AFL and introducing people of all backgrounds to Australia’s game.
“It means a lot to me that role,” he continued.
“Growing up as a kid I wanted to play football, but I didn’t have that role model for myself. Being a multicultural ambassador gives me that platform for kids to see that not everyone has to look a certain way or be a certain way to play football. You can come from anywhere you want, believe in anything you want, and it shouldn’t stop you playing sport.”
As an elite athlete, Jong recognises the responsibility and importance of being committed to the Fair Play Code standards, to help maintain the integrity of sport and recreation for the general good of the Victorian community.
It is so important to play fair in Australia, not only at the elite level but in any recreational sport, local league or just playing as kids. You need to do the right thing and take other people along with you.”
While Jong had an interrupted season at the Western Bulldogs in 2018, he continued to take positives out of the year and looks forward to playing his best football next season.
“It was a tough start to the year, especially coming back from the knee injury. My form wasn’t quite there and then unfortunately I broke my collarbone. Towards the back end of the year, as a team, we started playing the way we wanted to.”
No matter what challenges arise along the way, Jong maintains that above all else, respect must be shown to every participant, coach, support person, official, club member, volunteer and member of the public involved with sport and recreation in Victoria. And he’s acutely aware of his responsibility as a role model to others.
“It’s easy to say without this platform I wouldn’t really have any influence, but luckily I do, so trying to use that in a positive way, leading by example will hopefully inspire other people to do the right thing.”
From 1 July 2018, individuals, clubs, leagues and associations involved in sport and recreation in Victoria, should apply the Fair Play Code to behaviour both on and off the sporting field.
At the heart of the code are the five core values that will lead to fair play for all – Integrity – Respect – Responsibility – Fairness – Safety.
The code sends a loud and clear message – that bad behaviour, violence, cheating and intimidation has no place in sport and recreation in our state.
For more information read Victoria's Fair Play Code