18/04/2024

Josh Jenkins celebrates one of his goals during a Showdown . Photo: afl.com.au

Josh Jenkins played in his fair share of Showdowns and produced one of the most talked about moments in the games history.

The former Adelaide Crows spearhead played in his fair share of Showdowns and produced one of the most talked-about moments in the club’s history.

In the 25 years of Showdowns between Adelaide and Port Adelaide, there have been many memorable moments, with Port Adelaide currently holding a slender advantage in the 50 Showdown matches, winning 26 to Adelaide’s 24.

Showdowns are often tight and tense affairs. Photo: afl.com.au

The build-up to the games is finals-like and they are often close affairs. One player who was right in the middle of these epic clashes was former Adelaide forward Josh Jenkins.

The 33-year-old played a key role in Showdowns during his time with the Crows; often partnering Taylor Walker and livewire Eddie Betts in what was a potent Crows forward line.

Jenkins spoke exclusively to The Inner Sanctum and said that growing up in country Victoria, he had little to no knowledge the Showdowns existed until his teenage years.

“Almost none to be honest,” Jenkins admitted. 

“I was a very keen watcher of the footy. But I guess when I was young, we only really got Friday night footy. I think to this day there has been no Friday night Showdowns, so obviously never got a glimpse of one there. Just never really got a lot of footy from Adelaide shown into regional Victoria.

“I think we got the odd Crows game on a Sunday, but I don’t ever recall watching a Showdown until I was late teenage years or close to watching a bit of Fox Footy or something later. You see the odd highlight of a big fight or a big mark but apart from that, really nothing.”

Fans made Jenkins aware of what Showdowns meant in SA

After being drafted by Essendon with Pick 12 in the 2010 rookie draft, Jenkins then spent the 2011 season with its VFL affiliate, the Bendigo Bombers. He was a valued commodity and during the trade period that year, found his way to the Crows.

Jenkins said that he was quickly made aware of the bitterness towards Adelaide’s rival. It wasn’t from the playing group though, but more from the general public.

It was something that took getting used to for the Victorian-born forward.

“You were quickly made aware by people in the public, to be honest,” Jenkins said.

“Because they absolutely feed and thrive off of the Showdowns and it’s not uncommon for you to have people come up to you in the street and sort of say they want to win the Showdown more than any other games.

Crows fans quickly taught Jenkins the importance of Showdowns. Photo: afc.com.au

“If they could beat Port twice in a season, they would be happy, and you didn’t have to win another game. Some things which sound a bit non-sensical when you first hear them. To a Victorian, they kind of always did sound a bit silly to me in terms of we are happy to lose every game except the two showdowns.

“It gives you a sense of how much pride and how much passion goes into those games. Sometimes I felt like it was a little bit overblown, the hype and build-up to a game.

“It made it quite hard to play the game prior to that and the game after. Again, it just goes to show how much passion there is in the rivalry and in the match-up.”

Jenkins and his now famous goal from Showdown 45

One of Jenkins’ most talked about moments happened in Round 20, 2018 in the dying moments of Showdown 45. With Port Adelaide leading the Crows late into the fourth quarter, Jenkins’ goal put the Crows in front with little time remaining.

Initially, it looked as if the ball had hit the post. But after a score review, it was given as a goal.

The incident is still talked among fans.

Jenkins remembers the incident and is still unsure to this day if it was a goal or a point. He recalls that he should have taken his chance at goal better to eliminate the controversy.

“I was immediately unsure and I kind of am still to this day,” he said.

“Particularly the more I watch it, the more I have this point of view. I actually can’t believe that I didn’t actually kick it straight through the middle.

“Considering how relatively simple a kick it was. I practiced those sorts of ground ball collects and shots on goals 10, 15, 20 times every training session.

“So, to be frank, in the aftermath I thought, well I should’ve been able to take the controversy out of it and kick it straight through the middle. But in terms of how I felt, I really, really wasn’t sure and I think you can tell that in my kind of half celebration.

The tall forward says that during the score review process, he was telling his fellow teammates to get set up in the defensive zone. Some fans took this as an admission from Jenkins that he thought the ball had hit the post.

However, in reality, that was what the team was instructed to do.

“I think a few people, Port biased, were using the fact that I was telling my teammates to set up. But that was a common thing that we used to say if we ever have goal reviews,” he said.

“We should set up in our kick-in zone because if it is called a point, then we need to be ready to go because the other team can kick straight out. Whereas if it’s called a goal, which mine was, then it’s easier to walk back to your starting position.

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“So, the fact that I was sort of saying let’s set up had nothing to do with whether I thought it was a goal or not. I just genuinely didn’t know. To be honest I’ve seen the angles probably a thousand times in the first week after the game and I still don’t really know.

“If you ask Adelaide people and I had a lot of social media interaction one way or the other afterwards. Generally speaking, the Crows fans were pretty adamant it was a goal, and the Port fans were pretty adamant I was cheating.

“So, I guess it was just another, not iconic, but another twist in the Showdown tale.”

Taylor Walker celebrates winning Showdown 45 after Jenkins’ goal. Photo: afc.com.au

Jenkins still unsure of his goal to this day

During his post-match interview, the 33-year-old was asked about the goal, and he uttered his now-famous words:

“My grandma raised me not to tell fibs I think it hit the post, but I’m pretty happy they didn’t think so.”

It was that admission that caused quite a stir in the days after the game. Jenkins revealed that he was simply being honest in his thoughts on the goal.

He says that even to this day, he still is indecisive if it was a goal or not, depending on the angle of the footage.

“I think if you are being honest and authentic and transparent then you are not really second-guessing yourself,” he said.

“I think if you are second-guessing yourself, worrying what might be said afterwards, then that’s already you tempering that transparency and authenticity so I just said what I felt.

“Even what I did say I think I said something along the lines of I think it hit the post but I’m glad the goal umpire disagreed. That’s not even what my view is now.

“As I said, sometimes you watch it and think yeah, I reckon that hit the post. Then other times you watch it from a different angle and you’ll think, that’s definitely gone through.

“So, it’s just the perfect angle, perfect shadow in the perfect moment so yeah it was an interesting one. But I always tried to be quite forthright and upfront whenever I spoke in the public domain and continue to do so these days.”

The now-retired star remembers the gifts that came his way in the days following the Crow’s three-point win over Port Adelaide.

Jenkins said the Crows fans enjoyed that the goal was given and that it added a little extra pain on their cross-town rivals.

“It was a fun few days (after the game),” he said.

“I had all sorts of things, someone made me a Boston Bun. Replicating the yellow footy, skimming past the Boston Bun which was the goal post.

“I had all sorts of things done and said and given to me in the aftermath. So, a lot of Crows fans enjoyed the fact that it was given a goal and it inflicted an extra little level of pain on Port.”

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