25 January 1955 (age 68)
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 21y 160d
Last game: 33y 173d
Height and weight
Height: 189 cm
Weight: 85 kg
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An ebullient, larger than life character who played football with verve, persistence and no small amount of 'devil', Jim Jess was a firm favourite among Richmond fans throughout a 223-game VFL career that ran from 1976 to 1988. Known as 'The Ghost', he excelled in both defensive and attacking key positions, often during the course of the same game.
Probably Jess's best and certainly his most eventful season was 1980, when he was a major driving force behind a Richmond surge to the premiership that culminated in a 23.21 (159) to 9.24 (78) Grand Final annihilation of Collingwood. That same year saw Jess make the All Australian side after a couple of vibrantly effective performances for the 'Big V' at the Adelaide state of origin carnival. Powerful overhead, and a prodigious kick, Jess, who was loathed as much by opposition fans as he was loved by Richmond's, was a major draw-card during a period when VFL football was declining in popularity. His loyalty to the Tigers was amply demonstrated late in his career when he agreed to accept reduced match payments in order to help the cash-strapped club.
After leaving Richmond Jim Jess played at various times at Balranald, Burnie, Avoca and Port Fairy. In 1992 he was a member of Burnie's NTFL premiership-winning team.
Author - John Devaney