Jack E Clarke
14 July 1933
3 December 2001 (aged 68)
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 18y 0d
Last game: 33y 282d
Height and weight
Height: 175 cm
Weight: 78 kg
Tom Clarke (Father)
|Club||League||Career span||Games||Goals||Avg||Win %||AKI||AHB||AMK||BV|
Pre 1965 stats are for selected matches only
Hardly surprisingly for someone whose brother was a world record breaking middle distance runner, Jack Clarke was something of a fitness fanatic. An accomplished all round sportsman, he could conceivably have made the grade as a top level cricketer, or been a champion swimmer, or even have pursued the same path as his world famous brother, Ron, but Jack Clarke's first love was always football, and he was determined to follow in the footsteps of his father, Tom, who had played 103 games for Essendon between the wars.
As a youngster, Jack Clarke used to help operate the Windy Hill scoreboard on match days, while on the field he progressed swiftly through the different grades at Essendon before making his senior debut in July 1951, aged just eighteen. Later that year he was nineteenth man in the Dons' losing Grand Final team against Geelong.
A sublimely skilled footballer, Jack Clarke was a delight to watch, but the grace and panache of his movements belied the fact that he was also extraordinarily hardy and courageous, and often reserved his best displays for occasions when the going got particularly strenuous. In 1953 he was chosen to represent the VFL at the Adelaide carnival and more than justified his inclusion with a series of dazzling displays that earned him selection in the first ever official All Australian team. He went on to play a total of 27 matches for the 'Big V', and was again selected as an All Australian in 1956 and 1958. Captain of Essendon between 1958 and 1964, probably his proudest moment came when he led the Bombers to the 1962 flag with a best afield performance as first rover in the Grand Final against Carlton. When Essendon next won the premiership, three years later against St Kilda, Clarke played in his more usual position of centre.
After retiring as a player at the end of the 1967 season Jack Clarke replaced the legendary John Coleman as Essendon coach, and promptly steered his charges to a 1968 Grand Final showdown with Carlton. That was as good as it got though, as the Blues scraped home by 3 points. Two seasons later, after the Bombers had plummeted to eleventh place on the ladder, Jack Clarke's days as a VFL coach came to an end.
Author - John Devaney