HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE
John (Jack) Kildahl CLARKE
|Date of Birth||26th November 1931|
GAMES: 231: East Fremantle 206: WA 25
HONOURS: Sandover Medal 1957; East Fremantle best and fairest 1956, 1960-1961; four times all-Australian; member 1961 WA carnival side; WA captain 1958-60; member AFL Hall of Fame
If Graham Farmer was the greatest ruckman who ever pulled on a boot, Jack Clarke wasn’t far behind him. Their duels in the 1950’s are part of the WA football legend. One of that unique breed of famous farmer-footballers who came to town on weekends, a 100km-plus trip from Goomalling on Saturday mornings to pull on the blue and white. He would drive home the next day. Affectionately known as ‘Stork”, he had a tremendous leap that he used to advantage at hit-outs. A fine high mark, he could play key position at either end of the ground. It wasn’t uncommon, when the team was protecting a lead and the opposition had the wind, for Clarke to station himself in the last line of defence and take mark after mark. A young wheat and sheep farmer, Clarke stayed n the farm and made East Fremantle wait until he felt he was ready for league football. He was 22 when he made is league debut, at centre half-forward against West Perth champion Fred Buttsworth. Just 18 months later Clarke made his interstate debut and won the first of four All-Australian blazers.
In 1961, Clarke capped off a wonderful career as a member of the successful WA team at the Australian carnival in Brisbane. He was runner-up to Victorian Brian Dixon for the Tassie Medal as best player at the carnival.