Jack Clarke (footballer, born 1933)

John Edward "Jack" Clarke (14 July 1933 – 3 December 2001) was an Australian rules footballer and coach in the VFL. An Essendon and Victorian champion, Clarke was one of the premier midfielders of the VFL for well over a decade, Clarke led Essendon to the flag in 1962 as captain, and also played in the victorious 1965 side. Clarke was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 1996, and was named as the centreman of the Essendon Team of the Century in 1997.

Jack Clarke
Jack Clarke Sun Oct 1 1962.jpg
Jack Clarke after the 1962 VFL Grand Final
Personal information
Full name John Edward Clarke[1]
Date of birth (1933-07-14)14 July 1933
Date of death 3 December 2001(2001-12-03) (aged 68)
Place of death Melbourne, Victoria
Original team(s) Essendon High School
Height 175 cm (5 ft 9 in)
Weight 78 kg (172 lb)
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1951–1967 Essendon 263 (180)
Coaching career3
Years Club Games (W–L–D)
1968–1970 Essendon 65 (33–30–2)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1967.
3 Coaching statistics correct as of 1970.
Career highlights
Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com


He was the son of the curator at the Essendon Cricket Ground (Windy Hill), the former Essendon and Brunswick footballer, Tom Clarke, and the older brother of the well-known distance runner, Ron Clarke.[2]


Clarke was a noted architect, who studied during the early stages of his VFL career.


Clarke was a talented centreman who debuted on his eighteenth birthday in 1951 and played 263 games for the Essendon Football Club from 1951 to 1967, kicking 180 goals. At the time of his retirement he was third in the all-time ranks of both games played (263) and games captained (121) at Essendon, on both occasions being bested by his mid-field predecessors, Bill Hutchison and Dick Reynolds, under whose guidance he had played his entire career.

Clarke played in strong Essendon teams that featured legends such as Hutchison, John Coleman, John Birt, Barry Davis, Hugh Mitchell and Ken Fraser, but Clarke was never overlooked by opposition coaches and regularly polled well in the Essendon Best and Fairest award, winning the award in 1958 and 1962. Clarke was not as successful in the Brownlow Medal, with best finishes of equal 6th in 1958, and equal 7th in 1953 at the age of 20.

Clarke captained the club from 1958 to 1964, winning one premiership and winning two Best and Fairest awards while in the role. In Round 17, 1958, Clarke was the second of only three captains in league history to have called for a head count; the teams were even.[3]


He took over from John Coleman as Essendon coach in 1968, taking the team to the Grand Final, which they narrowly lost to Carlton. He was replaced as coach at the end of the 1970 season when Essendon finished 11th (of 12).

Hall of FameEdit

He was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 1996.

Champions of EssendonEdit

In 2002 an Essendon panel ranked him at 8 in their Champions of Essendon: a list of the 25 greatest players ever to have played for Essendon.


  1. ^ "John Edward Clarke". Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust.
  2. ^ "Vale Ron Clarke", Essendon Football Club, 17 June 2015.
  3. ^ 100 Years of Australian Football. Penguin Books. 1996. p. 209. ISBN 0-14-026969-X.

External linksEdit