Aussie Jones helps Feyenoord to first Eredivisie title in 18 years


Brad Jones's Feyenoord have been crowned Eredivisie champions for the first time in 18 years, a Dirk Kuyt hat-trick sealing the title with a 3-1 home victory over Heracles.

Australian goalkeeper Jones has completed a remarkable 18-month turnaround, rising from Bradford City's bench to a Dutch Eredivisie title as Feyenoord's first-choice gloveman.

Jones was in goal on Sunday when Feyenoord beat Heracles Almelo 3-1 to break an 18-year league-title drought, pipping arch-rivals Ajax to the trophy by one point.

Veteran captain Kuyt was the hero, his hat-trick sealing the Rotterdam side's 15th Dutch title and their first since 1999.

But Kuyt's fellow former Liverpool player Jones had equally as much to celebrate.

The 35-year-old Perth-born stopper has endured a rough road to the top since the Reds let him go in 2015 after only a handful of appearances over five years for the English Premier League giants.

Out of form and favour, he ended up at League One side Bradford and struggled for game time before being released months later.

A six-month contract with low-table top-tier Dutch outfit NEC - Stefan Mauk's current club - swung Jones back on track, his strong performances garnering the attention of heavyweights Feyenoord and getting him named the Eredivisie's best goalkeeper for 2016.

This season Jones has a league-high 17 clean sheets from 32 appearances, making it a surprise the four-time Socceroo hasn't been handed a national-team recall.

After Sunday's historic win he tweeted a photo of himself enjoying the moment with his young daughter on the pitch at a packed Feyenoord Stadium.

Feyenoord, coached by former Arsenal and Barcelona player Giovanni van Bronckhorst, had a chance to secure the championship last week only to be upset 3-0 by battling neighbours Excelsior.

Yet any fan apprehension on the final day evaporated as soon as Kuyt struck his 100th club goal after 38 seconds, taking advantage of a defensive slip to hammer home from a tight angle.

Feyenoord's win moved them up to 82 points, one ahead of Ajax, who concluded their domestic campaign with a 3-1 away victory over Willem II Tilburg.

Ajax will play Manchester United in the Europa League final in Stockholm on May 24.

Last season's champions PSV Eindhoven finished third after ending the campaign with a 4-1 home win over PEC Zwolle.

Source AAP