FORWARD Jaydon Stiles says his sudden mid-season move to rival club Port Fairy is nothing to do with money.
The former Portland player will line up for his first game with Port Fairy today, three weeks after his last match with the Tigers.
The 20-year-old was relieved his clearance was approved by the Tigers late on Thursday, a week after it was lodged, forcing him to miss last week.
Stiles said his decision to leave Portland after returning from a three-game stint at South Australian National Football League club Sturt had been the toughest of his short career.
Born and bred in Portland, he said he still had plenty of mates at the Tigers.
“I want to emphasise I didn’t move for money in terms of match payments,” Stiles said.
“The move hasn’t been influenced by money by any means apart from a job.
“Port Fairy has been able to get me a job and it was my choice. I didn’t want to leave Portland. I’ve played all my footy there and have a lot of mates there but Port Fairy had a job (for me) and they have been very welcoming.”
Stiles is working as a builder’s labourer carrying out maintenance at Port Fairy’s GlaxoSmithKline factory.
“It is very hard to move. People don’t understand how hard it is. A lot of stuff has been said and it has hurt a bit. A lot of people at Portland are disappointed and I understand that.”
Stiles was a highly-regarded teenager who spent three years with TAC Cup side North Ballarat Rebels before being part of a multi-pronged Portland forward line-up in its Hampden league debut season last year.
He moved to Sturt at the start of this season. After one goal on debut with Sturt’s reserves he was released to play two games with Portland before he returned to Adelaide. But he suffered an injury, missed three weeks and then after one more game he felt irregular working hours were impacting his football, prompting a permanent return to Victoria.
Stiles said he had offers of pre-season tryouts at VFL clubs North Ballarat Roosters and Port Melbourne for the 2015 season.
“I thought it would be best to come home and get a bit of money behind me and then relocate at the end of the year.
“For me to stay in Portland I needed a job. Unfortunately they weren’t able to find me a job and unfortunately there isn’t a great deal of jobs on offer in Portland.”
Stiles said he wanted to nail down a spot in Port Fairy’s forward line.
“They’ve been very welcoming and they are a great group of lads. Hopefully I can impact their team pretty quickly.
“I want to really enjoy my footy for the rest of the year. I’m definitely going into the rest of the season pretty confident and I want to play some good team footy.”
He has a big first-up assignment, joining the Seagulls for today’s clash with unbeaten ladder-leader Warrnambool at Reid Oval.
He will join key forward Gary Robinson in a side that upset third-placed North Warrnambool Eagles in the club’s biggest win in five seasons last week.
Coach Sam Rudolph said the Seagulls had new-found confidence.
“It’s a good game to see where we are at in terms of our mindset. Our pressure against North Warrnambool in the first half was second to none. It was the best I’ve seen since I’ve been at the club,” Rudolph said.
Warrnambool coach Scott Carter said the reigning premier had opted to give TAC Cup players Tom Schnerring and Tom Ludeman the week off.
“We were disappointed in our start last week and obviously we think that will be pretty important and Port Fairy will come out after their best win in three or four seasons and they are going to be confident,” he said.
“We want to assert some authority early.”