Derek, a big thanks for becoming a new Saints sponsor this season.

 Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your family? 

[Derek] Yeah –  I am originally from Adelaide and grew up all over Australia including Adelaide, Perth and Sydney of course. Arriving in Sydney in 1978 as a young teenager there was virtually no AFL going on – it was very slim pickings! The arrival of the Swans and then three kids rehashed my interest in AFL and we joined the Swans straight away and have been part of that family for of 25 years. My daughter unfortunately missed out on playing AFL but once the boys were of playing age we signed them up with Maroubra Saints and they loved it. My daughter is now 25, and my sons Kai and Charlie are tuning 16 and 14 this year respectively. Kai is still playing for the mighty Saints under 17s and Charlie has retired after a productive career of about 3 seasons. I live in Coogee with my two boys full time, am part of the local Surf Club and play in a local Band called Loco’s. I am a market researcher by trade and have run my agency D&M Research for the past 27 years.

 What prompted you to come on board as sponsor of the Saints this season?  

[Derek] Well I have long thought about ways I could do more to support the game I love at a grass roots level. It just made sense this year to get involved with the boys getting older and Kai probably only having another 2 seasons in him before he joins an adult team. We totally love the club, its culture and the community and how it has thrived most recently with an awesome program for the girls. When we were invited to attend a Sponsor night well I guess we just wanted to get behind this and help out in a small way with a bit of financial support that we hope makes a small difference on the ground.

 And your business is D&M Research. How long ago did you start it and what type of market research do you do?  

[Derek] It’s been a long time, 27 years to be exact. I cut my teeth as a pollster at Newspoll Market research and then set up my own shop in 1994 at the tender age of 28. It’s been an absolute roller coaster ride through start-up, GFC and most recently Covid. But it’s been the best thing I have ever done and I am proud that the agency has done work for a variety of well-known clients and big brands including Red Bull, Fox Sports, Sony Music, Woolworths,  AMP, Cover-More, Lendlease and Pfizer to name a few. We have even had the pleasure of working on the AFL Fox Footy Channel when it launched helping Fox sports to get the direction and positioning right. Our work really is about helping clients make better decisions through evidence research thus our tag line Fuel for Brilliant Decisions. Anything from understanding the health of your brand, to which customers to target, to how to get customers to choose your brand to which ads to run – we can help with any of that and more

 Has your business been impacted by Covid 19?

[Derek] Indeed it has like most businesses we have been impacted by Covid. Initially when things kicked off business dried up almost overnight and then again every time there was a spike. But then businesses started realising that they need to trade and to do that they needed to still make informed decisions and that’s where we come back into the fold. There has also been a lot of covid related research as businesses try to understand how consumers behaviours have changed as a result of covid. It’s tough but it feels like things are starting to return to some sort of new normal.

Where did you grow up?

[Derek] As I hinted earlier I grew up all over Australia – born in Adelaide in the mid-sixties I first moved to Sydney in 1970 where I did a year of kindy, back to Adelaide the following year and then to Perth in 1972 where I competed primary school. I arrived back in the AFL dessert (that’s Sydney) in 1978 and went to school in Randwick and lived in Paddington – close to Trumper park which was a bit of an AFL Mecca in Sydney on those days (although the quality of the games was so much below that of what we were used to in WA and SA  – Go Norwood and West Perth!). So I guess I grew up everywhere but Sydney is my home.

When did you first become involved with the Maroubra Saints?

[Derek] We got involved about 5 years ago with my first son Charlie started in the under 8s and then Kai joined a few years later and is still at the club. Needless to say that quite a few canteen and BBQ duties and the odd goal and boundary umpiring! Kai won a Grand Final for the under 13s back in 2019 which was one of the greatest days in memory!

What do you think makes a successful local community sports club?

[Derek] Good culture which to me means inclusion and diversity, encouraging parents to get involved and kids of all abilities to participate, being visible in the community and making everyone feel welcome and part of something..

Growing up, did you play any junior sport. If so, what sports and what are some of the life lessons you learnt?

[Derek] I did I played Afl for five years in Perth for the mighty City Beach Saints – same strip as the Maroubra Saints – I always have had a soft spot for St Kilda as a result. I wasn’t much of a footballer but I always turned up to training and generally got a game each week and I had at least one cracker of a game where I kicked a couple from the backline so I guess I learned that you only get out what you put in and I’ve had a pretty good work ethic ever since

Do you have any pregame messages you give to your kids on game day?

[Derek] Pre-game I always talk to the kids about being first to the ball – If you can do that you’ve got options – easier said than done but ties in to fitness and reward for effort.

What about post game?

[Derek] Post-game I guess t really depends on the result – though always highlight the good stuff whether we won or lost – there’s always something to take away into the next week either way. Kids need to know that you see their effort and are really positive and proud of their impact.

Do you have any thoughts or ideas for parents or families who are considering becoming more involved with The Saints? Where should they start?

[Derek] Just turn up – it’s a great club with so many ways to contribute from helping at training to managing or coaching a team, being a runner, to being a goal or boundary umpire on the day. It can be a little daunting but before you know it you will be comfortable making a contribution that the kids will see and admire you for. And of course there’s always the BBQ and canteen if that’s your thing!

Which footy team do you follow? Why?

[Derek] Sydney Swans of course through and through – 25 + years as a member – when the Swans turned up AFL was back for me and we have supported them ever since through the good and the bad – being to 3 grand finals won one, lost two – just love their culture as a sports team and everything they do to make us all feel like one big family. So many unforgettable moments, 2005 Leo Barry’s Grand Final winning mark,  Plugger’s 1360 goal record, all my favourite greats like Kelly, Goodes, O‘Loughlin, Kirk , Bolton and so many more, the  2012 GF win, not to forget last Friday’s Buddy 1,000

Flat White, Long Black, Skinny Cap, Pepsi Max, Sav Blanc or Peroni? 

[Derek] Skinny Cap, Coke no sugar, Shiraz and a Furphy

Bacon and Egg roll, Sausage roll, Salad roll or Meat Pie?

[Derek] Meat Pie but it has to be chunky beef!

And finally. It’s the AFL Grand Final. You’ve taken the mark and are 30 metres out directly in front. The sirens gone and your team is 5 points behind. What’s going through your mind?

[Derek] Oh that’s easy – There’s glory out there – lets have some!


Derek Jones
Managing Director D&M / Partner Inside Story
Part of the D&M / Cognition Alliance

P: (02) 9565 2655