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JJ's rapid rebound

Lee Gaskin, AFL Media  May 30, 2017 9:45 AM

Josh Jenkins Presser May 29 Josh Jenkins speaks to media ahead of his 100th AFL game this weekend.
Josh Jenkins

Josh Jenkins

It was a nice little circuit breaker for me to go back to the SANFL, play with a little bit less pressure on my shoulders and have a run.

Forward Josh Jenkins says staying positive helped him rebound immediately back into Adelaide’s AFL team.

Jenkins, who booted 62 goals last season and signed a five-year contract extension until 2021, was sent back to the SANFL after struggling to play to his full potential in his return from a rib injury.

With the top-of-the-table Crows searching for answers after two straight losses, Jenkins knew he had to handle it the right way.

"I wouldn't say it caught me completely off-guard, I knew I hadn't been playing great and the team hadn't been performing to its optimum, so whenever that happens there needs to be some change," Jenkins said.

"There is two ways you can go about it.

"You can either sulk and potentially spend a sustained period back in the SANFL, or you can do what I did, and just get stuck in and try and have a really good attitude about it.

"I just tried to have a good as attitude as I could, play the way the coaches wanted me to and I knew that would get me back in the side pretty quickly."

Jenkins responded with four goals against West Adelaide in the SANFL, leading to being recalled for last weekend's clash with Fremantle.

The 28-year-old – who is on track to play his 100th game against Geelong at Simonds Stadium on Friday night - took a strong mark in the first minute of the game, cleverly crumbed the ball off an Eddie Betts attempted mark and finished with three majors in the Crows' 100-point demolition of the Dockers.

"I just needed to play with a bit more energy and intensity," Jenkins said.

"I probably underestimated the impact missing five weeks of training had on me.

"I took for granted I could come back in the AFL level and play really well.

"It sometimes doesn't happen that way.

"It was a nice little circuit breaker for me to go back to the SANFL, play with a little bit less pressure on my shoulders and have a run.

"That's exactly what I needed."

If the Crows are going to go deep into September, Jenkins is going to play a crucial role.

Not only does he have the size and strength to present as a marking option in attack, but he also provides valuable minutes in the ruck as the back-up to Sam Jacobs.

Jenkins injured his ribs and suffered cartilage damage in the Round Two win against Hawthorn, spending a night in a Melbourne hospital.

He missed the next three games before returning for the Round Six victory against Richmond, but was axed from the side following back-to-back losses to North Melbourne and Melbourne.

"I played the first game really aware of it, then I started to feel a little bit better," Jenkins said.

"I was pretty reliant on trying to move around a lot rather than playing as a tall forward and contesting high balls and things like that.

"I was still really wary of the soreness and the fact if I got hit, I might re-injure it.

"It wasn't until I got out there, I realised it was still lingering and still affecting me.

"It took some time, but probably the SANFL game was the first time I played pretty much pain-free with it.

"I've been able to put it to the side and get on with it."