AustralianFootball.com Celebrating the history of the great Australian game
Mark Alexander Jackson
30 August 1959 (age 63)
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 21y 210d
Last game: 26y 218d
Height and weight
Height: 192 cm
Weight: 94 kg
South Fremantle; Melbourne; St. Kilda; Geelong
St. Kilda: 12
Richmond (1981); Melbourne (1983); St. Kilda (1984)
|Club||League||Career span||Games||Goals||Avg||Win %||AKI||AHB||AMK||BV|
|South Fremantle||WAFL||1979, 1987||31||98||3.16||—||—||—||—||—|
AFL: 9,219th player to appear, 2,909th most games played, 182nd most goals kickedMelbourne: 1,017th player to appear, 387th most games played, 43rd most goals kickedSt. Kilda: 1,274th player to appear, 844th most games played, 164th most goals kickedGeelong: 837th player to appear, 460th most games played, 65th most goals kicked
Mark Jackson undoubtedly had some genuine football talent - he was a strong mark and a deadly accurate set shot for goal, for instance - but to football supporters of a certain vintage he will always be remembered more for his showmanship. Antics like posturing in front of opponents, hand stands and throwing things into the crowd are one thing, but Jackson was also his own worst enemy in that, to put it bluntly, he was no team player. (Or maybe he was deliberately making a point and to hell with the consequences.) He had stints with three different VFL clubs, and all of those stints ended because the teams' coaches were either unable to control him or became exasperated at his behaviour. Such behaviour involved much more than the antics already described; he became renowned for ignoring instructions and at least one of his coaches alleged that he was in the habit of intimidating younger players in the team.
After playing reserves football with Richmond Jackson spent the 1979 season playing for a South Fremantle team which went on to make the grand final. On the big day, however, 'Jacko' was absent, having returned to Melbourne following the disclosure that his team mates had voted him out of the team. He resumed briefly with Richmond but was never going to make much headway given that the Tigers already boasted two potent forwards in the shape of Michael Roach and Brian Taylor. He ended up at Melbourne, who in 1980 gave him his first chance at 'big time' football. For a while it all went swimmingly as Jackson developed an effective partnership with Demons forward pocket Gerard Healy, kicking highly creditable tallies of 76 goals in both his seasons at the club. In 1981 that tally was enough for him to top Melbourne's goal kicking list. However, by the end of the 1981 season Dees coach Ron Barassi had had enough of the riotous behaviour and 'Jacko' was shown the door.
Two further stints at VFL clubs followed, and progressed more or less identically, with Jackson initially doing OK but ultimately sabotaging his own prospects by his behaviour. Those stints entailed 10 games and 41 goals with Geelong in 1983 and 31 games and 115 goals for Sydney in 1984 and 1985. It should in fairness be pointed out that this gave him an overall tally of 308 goals in the VFL at the highly respectable average of 3.76 per game.
Mark Jackson's football continued in 1987 with another season playing for South Fremantle in the WAFL, giving him a final career tally of 31 games with that club. He booted 98 goals. He later played briefly for Brunswick in the VFA but ended up getting sacked when he missed a training session.
After retiring as a footballer Jackson tried his hand at singing, even scoring an Australian number one hit, acting, and boxing, in the process accruing infinitely more money than he had earned playing footy.
Some might argue that football needs characters like 'Jacko', and whether or not that is true it is almost certainly the case that the regimented, sanitised world of today's AFL has little room for players who capture the headlines for anything other than their ability on the football field.
Author - John Devaney