John McInnes attended Ellangowan Primary School and then Rostrevor College. He played in Rostrevor's first eighteen from 1953 to 1956, was captain in 1955 & 1956, and also won the Gosse Medal as the best player in the senior schools competition.
In 1956 he played Under 19s at Norwood during the school holidays and was later selected in the league team, making his debut in the First Semi Final against North Adelaide. Although the athletic, well-balanced young footballer had attracted interstate interest, this was to be his last game for 10 years as he left Adelaide and joined the Christian Brothers’ Training College in Victoria.
In 1967 he returned to Adelaide and attempted a comeback with Norwood Football Club. He made the League training list, but injury forced an early retirement. McInnes then coached the Thirds for the rest of the 1967 season. He was appointed Reserves non-playing coach in 1968, but started playing again mid-season and in 1969 won the Reserves Magarey Medal playing as captain-coach.
In Round one 1970, he played his second league match, against Port Adelaide at Norwood, 14 years after his first game.
He then won his second Reserves Magarey Medal in 1971, polling 26 votes in 12 games. Having played the first eight rounds for the League side, he then retired from League football, so as to not deprive a younger player of a senior match. 1972 saw McInnes win his third Reserves Magarey Medal and retire from playing footy.
McInnes had coached the Redlegs to four Reserves flags in 1969, 1970, 1972 and 1974, before he took on the League job at Woodville from 1975 to 1978.
From 1979 to 1981 he coached Ferryden Park Football Club in the South Australian Amateur League (during which time Noel Pettingill also played at the club)
and was also State Amateur Coach in 1981