Recruited from the Darwin Football Club, via Rostrevor College, John Clarke was a strong, fast and vigorous footballer.
He began his senior career as a 14 year old, playing full back for Darwin in the Northern Territory Football League. Clarke represented the NTFL in 1974 and 1976.
His time with the Redlegs saw him used almost exclusively as a half back flanker, although he did play the odd game as a half forward.
Playing at half back, he was a member of the 1976 Reserves team that defeated North Adelaide by 58 points at Football Park.
In his League debut season in 1977, Clarke played 26 games and was widely regarded as the South Australian National Football League rookie of the year.
After making the SA State squad in 1979, he suffered a serious knee injury which ruled him out for the rest of the 1980 season, and nearly all of 1981.
Injury eventually ended his career prematurely and, although he courageously played on in the Reserves until 1983, his last League game was in 1981.
His younger brother Gavin also played Reserves for Norwood, whilst older brother Joe played League for West Torrens, as well as being a noted basketballer.
R Cialini Nov 2014