Donning a tool belt and a hard hat does not come naturally to Jared Petrenko, the longtime midfielder for the AFL Adelaide Crows.
But Jared, 28, now a program coordinator for Indigenous communities and “a complete rookie” at renovating, is ready to play ball on Seven’s House Rules with a new teammate—his girlfriend of two years, primary-school teacher Jessica Dover, 25. “If we can get through this experience together, we can get through anything,” he tells WHO.
That would include a whole-home makeover, since Jess refuses to move in until Jared’s house gets a face lift. “Things are falling apart and it’s basically a rundown bachelor pad,” she says. Concedes Jared, “You can’t have your beautiful girlfriend plunging your basin all the time.”
The fuss is worth it for Jared since Jess matches the strong spirit he admires so much in his paternal grandmother, Pat, with whom he lived from age 5. “My grandma’s basically my rock,” he says. “She’s the most important person on the Earth to me.”
When his parents split in 1992, a 3-year-old Jared lived with his labourer dad, Nick, in Seaford, South Australia. “He was only young when he had me, only about 20—both of my parents [were],” Jared says. “He was moving around a bit and it just wasn’t working and I was starting school, so I had to settle down in one spot.”
He ended up with his grandparents Pat and Brian King, who fostered his footy passion. Playing at a senior level when he was 15, “I started training, including games, six times a week,” he says, “and school became more of a social thing and almost a gap filler until I was old enough to be drafted.” Though the Crows claimed him in 2007, Jared was plagued by injuries. “My final season I sprained my ankle early on and it had a flow-on effect,” he says.
Season 6 of House Rules premieres on May 7 at 7:30pm on Seven.
For more on House Rules star Jared, pick-up a copy of WHO on-sale now!