Josh Jenkins has been hot and cold in 2019.
Josh Jenkins has been hot and cold in 2019.

‘Stay home’: AFL star’s tough call to wife

ADELAIDE Crows power forward Josh Jenkins has revealed the regular sideline abuse of players forced him to ask his wife Hannah not to attend his games.

The 30-year-old, dropped to play in the SANFL recently, said it was "uncomfortable" for the family and friends of players to hear the criticism and abuse directed at players from the grandstands.

He said the prominence of spectator abuse was even greater playing in the SANFL and other second-tier leagues because every barked comment reached more ears in the quieter, smaller grounds.

Having endured a hot and cold 2019, Jenkins said he had finally asked his family to stop attending games to protect their own mental health.

"On the weekend I told Hannah and (daughter) Lottie - I told Hannah, who's responsible, to stay home," Jenkins told SEN's Adelaide Breakfast.

"Because at SANFL (level), the abuse that gets hurled around - and I'm not condemning people that do it - but it's uncomfortable for them (family members) to have to sit there.

"They obviously love me and to have to sit there and go through that … if I was at Hannah's netball I'd be wanting to start a fight if those same things were said and that's how I'm trying to make people to understand that it affects everyone.

Josh Jenkins is fighting to return to the seniors.
Josh Jenkins is fighting to return to the seniors.

"Mental health might affect the individual but the whole family gets affected."

Jenkins described the issue of mental health in the AFL and Australian society as a "big black beast in the background which everyone is afraid of".

"This is by no means limited to professional sport," he said. "Mental health is an issue everywhere.

"It's more of an issue everywhere else than it is in footy but it's highlighted for obvious reasons because we are public people and we live a life in the public spotlight."

Mental health remains a battleground the AFL is only beginning to combat.

The issue was front and centre at last week's meeting among club CEOs in the wake of Bulldogs star Tom Boyd's decision to retire at the age of 23.