Geelong Cats forward Josh Jenkins has announced his retirement from AFL football, and the club has also decided that Ben Jarvis and Cam Taheny will not be offered contracts and will become delisted free agents. 

Jenkins finishes his career with 149 games and 296 goals. He played twice with the Cats, facing his previous clubs Essendon and Adelaide in those games. A popular clubman, Jenkins booted 25 goals in the VFL in 2021. 

Over his career Jenkins was an All Australian nominee in 2016, finished third in the Crows best & fairest in 2018 when he was the team’s leading goalkicker. Jenkins was a member of Adelaide’s 2017 grand final line up.

Jenkins reflected on his career that had taken him from Windy Hill, to Adelaide and finally to Geelong.

“Eleven-and-a-half years ago I was running around pretending to be a professional basketball player with the Townsville Crocodiles. Fast forward a dozen years and my AFL career ends with so much more than I ever could’ve wished for,” Jenkins said.

“I've experienced three fantastic clubs, beginning as a 21-year-old rookie at Essendon and finishing with two very unique and enjoyable years as a Geelong Cat. In the middle were eight seasons as an Adelaide Crow. And almost all of those eight were memorable for all the right reasons. Sometimes in life we get stuck in the moment and forget about the story in its entirety. My time as a Crow was amazing and one day we will return to our home on the beach in Glenelg.

“My AFL career pales into insignificance to hundreds of fellow players who have achieved the ultimate success or been individuals who have amassed countless individual awards but I achieved a lot more than an ex-basketballer from Swan Hill could have ever wished for - and for that I am proud.

“AFL footy is very strange - I began my AFL playing career in 2012 as a Crow against the Cats, playing against Andrew Mackie and Corey Enright and my last game was as a Cat against the Crows, which had many of my good mates in the opposition jumper, with Corey Enright as my positional coach and Andrew Mackie as the man who I lent on for much of the season.

“My family situation is different to most, so I’ve lent on a large contingent of friends to help me navigate the AFL’s peaks and troughs. I thank them all.

“In recent years, I’ve lent on my wonderful wife, Hannah, who has achieved far more as a mum than I have as an athlete. Her resilience across the past two years has been a lesson to all. We have a long and uncertain road ahead of us with our beautiful baby Piper but she has two amazing sisters, an incredibly loving mum and now, a full-time dad to help her achieve everything a girl could hope to do.

“It’s not fair that so many people who deserve public recognition do not get as much as they should. I hope they feel my gratitude.

“When I arrived at Windy Hill in November 2010 all I wanted was one AFL match. I got much, much more and I am eternally grateful and extremely content.”

VFL R6 Ben Jarvis in action against Coburg. Credit Arj Giese

Jarvis was selected by the Cats with the 48th pick in the 2018 national draft. He made his AFL debut in round 17 2020 against Richmond at Metricon Stadium. A mobile forward, Jarvis booted 19 goals in 24 games at VFL level.

Taheny played five games with the Cats at VFL level, as the past two seasons were cut short by Covid. Picked by the Cats with the 50th selection of the 2019 national draft, Taheny was also limited by injury while with the club.

VFL Rd1 Cam Taheny in action against North Melbourne. Credit Arj Giese

Geelong general manager of football Simon Lloyd thanked the players for their contribution to the club.

“Josh has called time on an exceptional career,” Lloyd said.

“He came to us after a very successful period with the Crows. Unfortunately Josh had limited opportunity with us. However, his work on the training track and with our VFL team, in particular with the younger players, was first class. He was a great clubman and a true professional. 

“Ben and Cam have been popular members of our squad, and we wish them well in the future endeavours.

“The past two seasons have been difficult for players pushing for selection, with limited games at VFL level. Ben and Cam maintained a positive attitude throughout, worked hard at training and with the opportunities they had at VFL level.”