Ken and John remained only father-son duo to win the medal

FAMILY PRIDE: The sole father-son combination to win Ollie Howden medals Ken (left) and John Jenkins show off their prized awards.
FAMILY PRIDE: The sole father-son combination to win Ollie Howden medals Ken (left) and John Jenkins show off their prized awards. Allan Reinikka Rokajenkins

RUGBY LEAGUE: To play rugby league was a no-brainer for John Jenkins, the son of the 1956 Ollie Howden medal winner, Ken Jenkins.

Little did Jenkins know he would follow in his father's footsteps and 30 years on, claim the 1986 medal awarded each year to Rockhampton Rugby League's player of the year.

In the 60 years the Ollie Howden award has been presented to players in the Rockhampton competition, Ken and John remained the only father-son combination to win the medal.

"It's a big honour to win 30 years later and to be the only father-son combo to win - that's at this stage, someone else will come along and do it again for sure," John Jenkins said, who for the past four years has coached Rockhampton Rustlers after he hung up his playing boots.

While Ken played for Norths, his son suited up for Yeppoon and added further to the history books by being the first Yeppoon player to win the award.

Both father and son were halfbacks, while John also played in the centres.

The Jenkins family was a true-blue rugby league family, who lived and breathed the sport.

John's younger brother Mick "Claude" Jenkins coached Brothers, while John's sister's boys Sam and Jake Granville were earning their stripes in the code after playing junior footy in Rockhampton - just like their grandfather and uncles.

Sam played for Brothers, and grandfather Ken would love to see him claim the Ollie Howden medal this year.

"He (Sam) would love to win it especially in the 60th year and we would get to see it in the same frame," Ken said.

Meanwhile, Jake Granville was the Queensland Cup player of the year in 2012 for his stunning efforts for Wynnum Manly.

Jake has since signed with the Brisbane Broncos, chasing his dream to succeed in the NRL.

Asked why rugby league was so prominent in the Jenkins' family, Ken was quick to answer.

"The boys had to play rugby league - because I did - they had no choice," he quipped.

A man of few words, he said the only advice he offered his son was to play as hard as he could.

In the 60th anniversary year of the Ollie Howden Award, Rockhampton Rugby League coaching and game development manager John Harbin said it was important to honour rugby league's rich tradition, heritage and past in Rockhampton.

The Ollie Howden medal will be presented to a local player along with prizes from Webber Retro Vision at the end of this year's season, which kicks off after Easter.



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