Jack Trengove: A Tackle Your Feelings story

words by Tackle Your Feelings, Monday 1 March 2021

Growing up, life was pretty easy according to former Melbourne and Port Adelaide player Jack Trengove.

The former No. 2 draft pick attended a good school, he was athletic, academically strong and well-rounded.

“If you were to ask me what the words mental health meant when I was 16 years old, I wouldn’t have even known what you were talking about,” Trengove told Tackle Your Feelings.

Despite some on-field challenges for Melbourne, Trengove said his first few seasons at the elite level were relatively smooth-sailing.

It would be that way until Trengove experienced his first significant injury going into his third AFL season.

A stress fracture in his foot prevented Trengove from training and playing for close to 24 months – it was a dramatic injury that the now 29-year-old described as a “flattening moment”.

Rehabilitation groups at football clubs are often insular experiences and Trengove said that was the hardest challenge for a young captain who was stuck on the sidelines.

“All these different challenges and adversities started getting thrown my way and that’s when I really started to understand what mental health was and that negative mindset that can be quite overwhelming at different stages,” he said.

In hindsight, Trengove felt like he was underprepared to be named co-captain alongside Jack Grimes at just 20 years old (Trengove was the youngest player appointed as captain of his club in AFL history), but it was a steep, eye-opening, learning curve that helped prepare him for life after football.

Trengove focused on building strong relationships with his teammates and those around him, as well as working to gain the respect of the playing group beyond being a footballer.

Now, looking back on his career, Trengove says his favourite coaches were the ones that appreciated him as a person beyond his identity as a footballer.

“I wanted the coach to appreciate me as an individual and I was always going to play better as a result of that,” he said.

“If you have a coach that you truly respect and want to win for, you’re going to get better performances out of your players.”


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