A great Essendon centreman and later rover, Jack Clarke was a sporting natural and one of the smartest football thinkers of all time.

Although he was lightly built, Clarke would dive into packs for the ball and usually came out with it.

His artistry was great to watch, while his fearlessness led to him receiving more than his fair share of head injuries during his career.

Clarke was a superb Bombers captain from 1958 until he retired as skipper at the end of 1964. Only Dick Reynolds was captain for longer and Bill Hutchison for the same period.

Clarke won the club's best and fairest in 1958 and 1962 and was runner-up in 1953, 1955, 1957, 1959, 1960 and 1963.

He was also the Dons' second top goalkicker in 1960 and 1966 (equal). His best goalkicking effort was six in a game in 1960.

Clarke led the Dons superbly as first rover in the 1962 premiership victory and was also among the best in the centre in the 1965 premiership win.

He polled 116 Brownlow Medal votes across his career, earning three All-Australian blazers (1953, 1956 and 1958) - a feat that had only been equalled by one other footballer.

Career statistics

Played: 1951-67
Games: 263
Goals: 181
Premiership player: 1962, 1965
Grand Final appearances: 1951, 1957, 1959, 1962, 1965
Finals played: 17
Essendon captain: 1958-1964 (121 games)
Essendon best and fairest: 1958, 1962
Top-five Essendon best and fairest: 1953, 1955, 1957-1960, 1962
Career Brownlow votes: 116
Victorian representative: 1953-1962
Victorian captain: 1959, 1960, 1962
All Australian: 1953, 1956, 1958