The mental battle of Cricket ACT quick Jak Willcox


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However Healy’s message was simply the beginning. The Tigers have embraced Willcox a lot that he now needs to discover the potential for having a cricket all stars sport in Canberra to lift consciousness for psychological well being.

Willcox has opened up for the primary time about his private struggles. He had been combating in silence for a very long time, and now he is aware of he needn’t endure alone.

Willcox needed to go.

One thing had been rising behind his thoughts since he was in yr 12 and it wasn’t going away. His drive was gone. He was asking himself ‘What am I doing? The place am I going with my life?’

“It appeared to develop as this factor that simply saved consuming away at me as an individual and despatched me right into a gap and I grew to become an individual I didn’t need to turn out to be,” Willcox stated.

Cricket misplaced its lustre. Now not the outlet it as soon as was, each dangerous ball was one other weight on the Ginninderra quick bowler’s shoulders, nagging away. When 23-year-old Willcox misplaced cricket, he thought he had misplaced all the things.

Jak Willcox once defined himself by cricket.

Jak Willcox as soon as outlined himself by cricket.Credit score:Jay Cronan

“I needed to name it quits, I had nothing left in me to maintain going,” Willcox stated.

“My aggressive nature had folded. I misplaced the need to simply put in effort in each facet of my life. Cricket was clearly powerful on the time, I missed a number of alternatives by attempting to go all the way down to Melbourne and take one thing on, and that was behind my thoughts.


“I felt like all the things was towards me. I’d been pondering ‘what am I doing and the place am I going with my life?’

“Cricket had all the time been this one huge factor for me to try to make it so far as I can, and I had misplaced that. Psychological well being had taken cricket out of my life, the way in which it was taking a toll on me.

“That affected the way in which I used to be changing into exterior cricket as effectively. It affected my relationships, work and all the things like that.

“I had that lightbulb second and did need to go.”

He could not deal with it anymore. However as an alternative of giving in, one thing from inside advised Willcox to take himself to hospital.

It was a easy textual content message, however one Willcox won’t have made it via with out.

Rhys Healy has been an incredible pillar of support for Jak Willcox.

Rhys Healy has been an unbelievable pillar of assist for Jak Willcox.Credit score:Rohan Thomson

Healy knew one thing was off when he tried to trace down Willcox and could not. He was shortly stuffed in by the household and knew he needed to do one thing – and so got here the message.

“He’s a man I’ve recognized for the reason that early days in major college, I’m clearly fairly shut with him and share plenty of reminiscences with him. It most likely wasn’t the best time for both for us,” Healy stated.


“It was like he didn’t need to let me and his different shut mates down by opening up. I advised him he’s letting us down is he isn’t chatting to us. I’d quite know if he’s going via one thing dangerous than him sheltering it.”

That message confirmed Willcox he may nonetheless flip himself into the person he needed to be, and that meant turning his again on cricket. The performances by which Willcox as soon as outlined himself now not mattered.

Stepping away from the sport was extremely troublesome. Having to inform Healy and Tigers coach Mick Delaney that his one-day uniform was staying within the wardrobe whereas his teammates took to the sector was “heartbreaking”.

Willcox feared how Healy would take the information given he had simply taken on the membership captaincy. His response summed up the person the Ginninderra membership has shortly come to like.

“Hear, you’re getting again on the trail and I’ll do something I can to be sure you are personally okay earlier than you get your sport again on observe,” Healy stated.

Willcox wakened on Saturday mornings and appeared misplaced. Cricket was all he had recognized, however he knew stepping away from the sport would assist to alleviate the burden which had weighed him down for 5 years.

Born and bred a Tiger: Jak Willcox.

Born and bred a Tiger: Jak Willcox.Credit score:Jamila Toderas

Telling his father was all the time going to be troublesome.

Willcox nonetheless remembers spending numerous Saturdays as a child cheering on his dad Dave and uncle Andy – two of the membership’s all-time main wicket takers. He was down there sitting on a blanket earlier than he may even stroll.


In fact, Willcox needn’t have fearful – his father was all the time going to assist him. The Saturdays they spent collectively on the golf course at the moment are a few of his most prized reminiscences.

After spending numerous hours along with his previous man and former teammate Brendan Roweth, Willcox “received again to realising what life is all about, simply to maintain pushing via with the individuals round you”.

Sitting within the rooms at Kippax Oval like he had completed numerous occasions earlier than, the butterflies simply would not go away.

At the moment was the day Willcox would return to cricket. Hours later he retreated to the identical spot within the dressing room with figures of Zero-48 on day one among Ginninderra’s Douglas Cup conflict with Cricket ACT powerhouse Tuggeranong.

Willcox’s personal excessive requirements prior to now would have meant these figures have been nearly unacceptable – however this time it was completely different.

“Strolling out final week on the sector, it wasn’t about wickets, it wasn’t about how effectively the day had gone, it was nearly being out with the boys, particularly Mick and Rhys, after the way in which they’ve supported me via the final three years,” Willcox stated.

Mounted? Not fairly. Willcox believes he’ll face extra darkish occasions sooner or later.

The toughest factor for Willcox was to just accept he had despair and inform his mum and pop about it. Petrified of shifting the burden onto their shoulders, he was afraid individuals would take a look at him otherwise.

The identical household and mates he was as soon as scared to talk to are those Willcox is now perpetually grateful for.

“It made me realise that it doesn’t matter how powerful you’re going via, should you do communicate up it exhibits how a lot shut household and shut mates do care about you,” Willcox stated.

“I used to be questioning myself the place I used to be to go, l however once I did realise there was sources on the market to assist, I did make some very huge steps. I’ve a really shut relationship with my psychologist, who has been incredible for me.

“If something out of this, I’d actually like to get on the market and assist as many individuals as doable. That’s my plan sooner or later, to get on the market and communicate to children which might be going via it, to say that talking up is unquestionably the toughest factor, nevertheless it’s the perfect factor you may ever do.

“Till you’ve spoken up you don’t realise how supportive your mates and household actually are.”

Willcox has already set his sights on launching an ‘North versus South All-Stars’ charity match between Cricket ACT’s cream of the crop to lift consciousness for psychological well being.

He is aware of this is not only a sport. There are deeper points at play, and one mustn’t go it alone.

Lifeline 13 11 14; Past Blue 1300 22 4636


Saturday: Douglas Cup – Ginninderra v Tuggeranong Valley at Kippax Oval, Weston Creek Molonglo v ANU at Stirling Oval, Eastlake v North Canberra-Gungahlin at Kingston Oval, Western District-UC v Queanbeyan at Jamison Oval. All video games begin at 11am.

Caden Helmers is a sports activities reporter for The Canberra Occasions

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