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Graeme Jenkin

Graeme Jenkin

1964, 1966-1973
14

127 CFC Games Played

77 CFC Goals

Date of Birth
5 September 1945
Recruited From
Collingwood Police Boys
Collingwood Debut
Round 7, 1964
Height:
193cm
Weight:
104kg

Biography

Every football club needs its characters – those larger-than-life guys with infectious personalities who can lift the change rooms and help make footy fun.

That description fits Graeme ‘Jerker’ Jenkin to a tee.

‘Jerker’ was one of the most popular players not just at Collingwood but also in the VFL. “Everyone loved him,” Peter McKenna once said. “He was a great, happy-go-lucky bloke, and the life and soul of the club.” His long-time colleague in the ruck division, Len Thompson, agreed, once describing Jenkin as “the funniest guy in the world”. “He’s the only bloke I know who could walk into a room not knowing anyone and within 15 minutes could be friends with everyone,” Thompson said.

But Jenkin could also play football – and play it well. He was a big, athletic young man with a great leap and good hands when he arrived at Victoria Park in 1962. He was an outstanding cricketer – a feared and unpredictable quick who opened the bowling for Collingwood in District cricket at age 17 – but luckily decided to focus mostly on footy. He first played for the under-19s, then the reserves and eventually made his senior debut in 1964. He struggled to adjust to life as a senior footballer (not helped by missing most of 1965 with a broken leg), and remained an inconsistent presence in the team through most of the 1960s.

But Jenkin’s fortunes turned when No. 1 ruckman Len Thompson went on strike during the 1970 pre-season. The club knew then it had to make other plans for Thommo and Jenkin seized his opportunity. Even when Thommo returned to the fold, the amount of time Jenkin spent in his preferred spot as the team’s main ruckman increased exponentially. And with that increased opportunity, he flourished.

The 1970 season was undoubtedly Jenkin’s best in senior football. He finished second in the Copeland Trophy and won selection in the Victorian team (only to have to withdraw because of a hamstring injury). By then he had settled at a playing weight of around 108kg, to go with his 194 cm frame. He was a big unit on the field.

Despite his size, he had a wonderful natural leap that often saw him soaring for spectacular marks. He also had great, ‘sticky’ hands and an innate palming ability. While the former two attributes were widely recognised the third — his palming — was not. Jenkin’s skills as a tap ruckman were vastly underrated, and easily comparable to those of the acknowledged star, Thompson.

Jenkin’s performances in 1970 and 1971, when he carried the burden of being the team’s leading ruckman, were outstanding. His efforts in the 1970 finals were especially good, though many people would best remember him for his role as Alex Jesaulenko’s stepladder for that mark in the grand final.

Jenkin was regularly asked about the incident in retirement – often two or three times a week. In 1991, Melbourne group TISM even made him the subject of a song, “The Back Upon Which Jezza Jumped”. Jerker took it all in characteristically good humour, even developing something of a ‘road show’ with Jezza where they’d recount the moment.

Other than his personality, the thing his teammates most remembered about Jerker was his kicking. Specifically, his drop kicks. Nobody could ever be sure where his drop kicks would go, how far they would travel or whether they would even get off the ground. “They were unique,” Jenkin once said. “I don’t know of any other footballer who kicked them that way.”

The drop kick became a near-lethal weapon when Jerker delivered it. Earlier in that ill-fated 1970 season, a Jenkin special had struck Jezza a sickening blow in what is euphemistically called the groin, prompting The Herald to warn: “One day, if he insists on kicking ‘toers’, he will seriously injure an opponent”. His former coach, Bob Rose, said nobody would stand the mark to Jerker in practice matches – it was just too dangerous. And Peter McKenna said leading to him was impossible: “Some kicks would go 50 metres along the ground, the next one 50 metres over my head.”

Somehow, this all added up to a loveable, slightly eccentric package of abilities. And Jenkin’s willingness to laugh at it all – especially himself – made it even more endearing. He wasn’t loved by only his teammates: he became something of a crowd favourite too.

Unfortunately, Jenkin didn’t get to end his career at Collingwood. When Neil Mann took over as coach in 1972 he set about rebuilding Len Thompson’s career, but that came largely at Jerker’s expense. He spent fewer and fewer minutes as the team’s first ruckman, and eventually crossed (a little reluctantly) to Essendon at the end of 1973 in the deal that brought Bomber defender John Williams to Victoria Park.

But Jenkin was always a Magpie – he’d barracked for them as a kid – and returned ‘home’ almost as soon as his stint at Windy Hill finished. He later became involved with the Past Players’ Association, where his infectious laughter and welcoming personality were put to particularly good use.

A big man, with a big heart and a big laugh, Graeme Jenkin – footy’s most famous stepladder, and owner of the game’s scariest drop kicks – enjoyed a fine 127-game career at Collingwood. If he hadn’t had to spend so much of it as an understudy to the great Len Thompson, his ruckwork might have achieved more of the recognition it deserved.

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Statistics

CFC Career Stats

Season played Games Goals Finals Win %
1964, 1966-1973 127 77 9 67%

CFC Season by Season Stats

Season GP GL B K H T D Guernsey No.
1964 3 0 14

1964 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 7 North Melbourne W 0 14 View match >
Round 8 Richmond W 0 14 View match >
Round 9 Melbourne L 0 14 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1966 10 1 3 45 12 57 14

1966 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Hawthorn W 0 14 View match >
Round 2 Fitzroy W 0 14 View match >
Round 7 Western Bulldogs W 7 1 8 14 View match >
Round 8 Geelong W 1 8 1 9 14 View match >
Round 9 Sydney W 8 2 10 14 View match >
Round 10 St Kilda W 0 14 View match >
Round 11 Carlton L 1 10 3 13 14 View match >
Round 12 Hawthorn W 1 5 5 14 View match >
Round 13 Fitzroy W 1 7 5 12 14 View match >
Round 14 Essendon L 0 14 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1967 13 11 6 111 15 126 14

1967 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Geelong L 1 10 10 14 View match >
Round 2 North Melbourne W 3 2 10 2 12 14 View match >
Round 3 Essendon W 3 1 8 8 14 View match >
Round 4 Western Bulldogs W 3 2 10 10 14 View match >
Round 5 Sydney W 4 3 7 14 View match >
Round 6 Carlton L 4 4 14 View match >
Round 9 Fitzroy W 4 4 14 View match >
Round 10 Hawthorn W 1 1 18 2 20 14 View match >
Round 11 Melbourne W 12 12 14 View match >
Round 12 Geelong L 6 1 7 14 View match >
Round 13 North Melbourne W 18 5 23 14 View match >
Round 14 Essendon L 4 2 6 14 View match >
Round 15 Western Bulldogs L 3 3 14 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1968 13 10 14 135 45 180 14

1968 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Richmond L 1 4 21 3 24 14 View match >
Round 2 Fitzroy L 1 11 2 13 14 View match >
Round 3 St Kilda L 0 14 View match >
Round 4 Geelong L 8 3 11 14 View match >
Round 5 Hawthorn W 7 3 10 14 View match >
Round 6 Essendon W 3 2 10 7 17 14 View match >
Round 7 Carlton L 7 1 8 14 View match >
Round 8 Melbourne L 2 10 4 14 14 View match >
Round 9 Sydney L 1 7 5 12 14 View match >
Round 10 Western Bulldogs W 1 6 2 8 14 View match >
Round 11 North Melbourne W 2 1 12 3 15 14 View match >
Round 19 Melbourne W 1 16 3 19 14 View match >
Round 20 Sydney W 2 3 20 9 29 14 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1969 14 9 8 131 40 171 14

1969 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Hawthorn L 1 10 10 14 View match >
Round 4 Carlton W 13 3 16 14 View match >
Round 5 St Kilda L 9 6 15 14 View match >
Round 6 Western Bulldogs W 1 1 6 9 15 14 View match >
Round 9 North Melbourne W 2 6 6 12 14 View match >
Round 10 Geelong W 7 7 14 View match >
Round 11 Essendon W 0 14 View match >
Round 16 St Kilda W 7 3 10 14 View match >
Round 17 Western Bulldogs W 1 11 2 13 14 View match >
Round 18 Fitzroy W 2 3 17 3 20 14 View match >
Round 19 Sydney W 13 3 16 14 View match >
Round 20 North Melbourne W 3 1 15 2 17 14 View match >
Semi Final Carlton L 1 1 12 1 13 14 View match >
Preliminary Final Richmond L 5 2 7 14 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1970 21 8 11 233 67 300 14

1970 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Western Bulldogs W 1 10 4 14 14 View match >
Round 2 Richmond W 0 14 View match >
Round 3 Hawthorn W 1 3 3 14 View match >
Round 4 Geelong W 3 2 5 14 View match >
Round 5 Melbourne W 1 10 6 16 14 View match >
Round 6 North Melbourne W 1 1 13 3 16 14 View match >
Round 7 Fitzroy W 3 1 17 4 21 14 View match >
Round 8 Carlton W 9 1 10 14 View match >
Round 9 Essendon L 1 1 17 8 25 14 View match >
Round 10 St Kilda W 10 2 12 14 View match >
Round 12 Western Bulldogs W 1 1 14 View match >
Round 15 Geelong W 12 3 15 14 View match >
Round 16 Melbourne W 2 14 1 15 14 View match >
Round 17 North Melbourne W 2 1 13 4 17 14 View match >
Round 18 Fitzroy W 14 13 27 14 View match >
Round 19 Carlton W 14 4 18 14 View match >
Round 20 Essendon W 11 3 14 14 View match >
Round 21 St Kilda W 22 3 25 14 View match >
Round 22 Sydney W 1 13 5 18 14 View match >
Semi Final Carlton W 17 1 18 14 View match >
Grand Final Carlton L 0 2 10 10 14 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1971 22 14 10 284 60 344 14

1971 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Western Bulldogs W 9 3 12 14 View match >
Round 2 Richmond W 1 14 6 20 14 View match >
Round 3 Essendon D 14 2 16 14 View match >
Round 4 Fitzroy W 12 2 14 14 View match >
Round 5 North Melbourne W 1 1 10 1 11 14 View match >
Round 6 Melbourne W 1 19 3 22 14 View match >
Round 7 Geelong W 2 15 3 18 14 View match >
Round 8 St Kilda L 1 1 12 5 17 14 View match >
Round 9 Sydney W 10 3 13 14 View match >
Round 10 Hawthorn L 14 2 16 14 View match >
Round 11 Carlton W 21 5 26 14 View match >
Round 12 Western Bulldogs L 1 13 2 15 14 View match >
Round 13 Richmond W 1 9 3 12 14 View match >
Round 14 Essendon W 2 2 16 8 24 14 View match >
Round 15 Fitzroy W 1 12 2 14 14 View match >
Round 16 North Melbourne W 1 15 3 18 14 View match >
Round 17 Melbourne W 7 4 11 14 View match >
Round 19 St Kilda L 7 1 8 14 View match >
Round 20 Sydney W 2 1 17 1 18 14 View match >
Round 21 Hawthorn L 1 13 13 14 View match >
Round 22 Carlton L 1 14 1 15 14 View match >
Semi Final Richmond L 2 1 11 11 14 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1972 13 14 9 125 15 140 14

1972 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 1 Richmond L 1 16 16 14 View match >
Round 2 Carlton D 4 1 5 14 View match >
Round 4 St Kilda L 5 1 6 14 View match >
Round 9 Geelong W 5 17 2 19 14 View match >
Round 10 Sydney W 3 13 3 16 14 View match >
Round 12 Richmond W 2 14 2 16 14 View match >
Round 13 Carlton L 1 2 14 1 15 14 View match >
Round 14 St Kilda W 6 6 14 View match >
Round 15 Melbourne W 1 10 3 13 14 View match >
Round 19 Western Bulldogs W 0 14 View match >
Round 20 Geelong L 3 3 14 View match >
Qualifying Final Richmond L 2 10 2 12 14 View match >
Semi Final St Kilda L 2 4 13 13 14 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
1973 18 10 11 124 23 147 14

1973 Season stats

Hide Season
RD VS Result GL B K H T D Guernsey No. Match Report
Round 2 Western Bulldogs W 4 1 5 14 View match >
Round 3 Geelong W 2 1 11 2 13 14 View match >
Round 4 St Kilda W 3 2 9 1 10 14 View match >
Round 5 North Melbourne W 2 1 10 2 12 14 View match >
Round 6 Melbourne W 1 16 5 21 14 View match >
Round 7 Carlton L 1 1 2 2 14 View match >
Round 8 Fitzroy W 7 2 9 14 View match >
Round 12 Sydney W 1 6 6 14 View match >
Round 13 Western Bulldogs W 1 1 10 10 14 View match >
Round 14 St Kilda W 2 11 1 12 14 View match >
Round 15 Geelong W 1 10 10 14 View match >
Round 16 North Melbourne L 5 1 6 14 View match >
Round 17 Melbourne W 0 14 View match >
Round 18 Carlton W 0 14 View match >
Round 20 Richmond L 1 1 2 14 View match >
Round 22 Essendon W 3 2 5 14 View match >
Semi Final Carlton L 10 3 13 14 View match >
Preliminary Final Richmond L 1 9 2 11 14 View match >
Legend
  • #Guernsey
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • DDisposals
  • MMarks
  • TTackles
*Player goal statistics included VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.
Totals 127 77 72 1188 277 1465
Avg/Game   0.61 0.57 9.35 2.18 11.54
Legend
  • GPGames Played
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • TTackles
  • DDisposals

Key Facts

CFC Debut Number

662

Total AFL Games
149
Total AFL Goals
87
CFC Debut
Round 7, 1964
CFC Last Game
Preliminary Final, 1973
Recruited From
Collingwood Police Boys
Full Name
Graeme Jenkin
Nickname
Jerker

Awards

  • Life Members
    1973
  • Most Determined Player
    1968
  • Runner up Best and Fairest (R.T. Rush Trophy)
    1970
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