Mark Jackson (Australian footballer)
Mark Alexander "Jacko" Jackson (born 30 August 1959) is a former professional Australian rules footballer who played for several teams, including Melbourne, St Kilda and Geelong in the Victorian Football League (VFL) and South Fremantle in the West Australian Football League (WAFL). Following his football career, he became notable for several television appearances, including commercials for Energizer and Nutri-Grain, along with several feature films. Jackson has also written an autobiography, Dumb Like a Fox, which was released in 1986.
|Full name||Mark Alexander Jackson|
|Date of birth||30 August 1959|
|Height||192 cm (6 ft 4 in)|
|Weight||94 kg (207 lb)|
|1979; 1987||South Fremantle||31 (98)|
|WAFL total||31 (98)|
|1983||St Kilda||10 (41)|
|VFL total||82 (308)|
|Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com|
South Fremantle & Richmond (1979–1980)
As a football player, "Jacko" was a full forward of little potential. Originally from Victoria, he started his senior career in the West Australian Football League, spending the 1979 season with South Fremantle. Mal Brown, who was coaching South Fremantle at the time, employed Jackson as a forward to protect Ray Bauskis, a skillful but lightweight full-forward. It did not work well, with Jackson kicking 53 goals from 22 games and Bauskis 66 from 17 games. South Fremantle finished 2nd that year, but the night before the second semi-final, Jackson returned to Melbourne, after being told that the other players had voted him out of the team. He consequently missed out on playing in the 1979 grand final, which saw the largest crowd in West Australian football history (52,781 people).
Upon returning to Melbourne, Jackson rejoined Richmond, who had lent him to South Fremantle. However, with Michael Roach and Brian Taylor at the club, there was no room for a third full forward. Jackson spent the year in the reserves and kicked 131 goals. Seeing that there would be little opportunity at Richmond, Jackson moved to Melbourne for the 1981 season.
Here, despite having one of the strictest taskmasters and legends of the game in Ron Barassi as coach, Jackson released his bag of tricks on the Melbourne fans. One of the most famous was the handstand in front of the Hawks full back, Kelvin Moore. Moore told Jackson that he "wouldn’t be a full forward while his arse pointed to the floor," so Jackson did a handstand to point it to the sky. He was also famous for twirling the ball on his fingers like a basketball. Jackson kicked 76 goals in each of his two years with the Demons, leading the goal kicking in 1981 and falling one goal behind Gerard Healy in 1982. He felt that he didn’t have the support of the coaches or players so he put himself on the market and waited for interest from other clubs.
St Kilda (1983)
St Kilda was the only club interested for the 1983 season and Jackson started very well for the Saints kicking 41 goals from 10 matches, including 10 in a game against Sydney Swans. But halfway through the season Jacko was sacked from the club for disciplinary reasons. He spent the remainder of the year playing for the Melbourne Harlequins rugby side. However, his 41 goals was still enough to be the Saints' leading goal kicker.
1984 saw Jacko return to the VFL with Geelong. He would stay with the Cats for three seasons, leading the goal kicking in 1984 with 74. Gary Ablett would take over as Geelong's leading goalkicker from 1985, but Jacko still managed 115 goals from 31 games.
After kicking six goals in the first round of 1986 and two in the second round, he retired after his omission from the Geelong senior side in the following round. He ended his VFL career with 308 goals from 82 games, leading his club's goalkicking on 3 occasions. He holds the record for the most consecutive games from debut with at least one goal, with 79 games. His first and only goalless game in his career was in his third last game in Round 21, 1985 against Richmond at VFL Park. Jackson gained a controversial reputation for his on-field antics, and was regularly reported: twice at Melbourne and four times at Geelong, including an eight match suspension following a fight against Hawthorn.
An autobiography of Jackson's football career was published in 1986 and titled Jacko, Dumb Like a Fox, written with the assistance of Melbourne journalist Jon Anderson. Later in 1986 he played a few games for Brunswick Football Club in the VFA First Division, the first of which against Sandringham drew a crowd of nearly 15,000 to Gillon Oval; he was sacked from Brunswick in July after missing training.
Jackson returned to South Fremantle for the 1987 WAFL season, and kicked 45 goals from the opening 10 games. This included nine goals against West Perth in round three. South Fremantle won its opening three games of the season, but then went on an 18-match losing streak to win the wooden spoon – the club's first since 1972. Jackson walked out on the club after round 10, where the Bulldogs lost to West Perth by a league-record 210 points. Despite only playing half the season, he still finished as the club's leading goalkicker. Later in 1987, he went to Queensland and played a game for QAFL club Kedron; he was paid a large fee of $2,000 per game, but his presence drew a large crowd which earned more than $12,000 for the club. He had intended to play more games for Kedron, but was suspended for unbecoming conduct after dropping his shorts several times during the match.
Following his retirement from football, "Jacko" used his fame and popularity to launch a singing career. His first single, "I’m an Individual" was a number 1 hit on the Australian singles chart. A second single, "Me Brain Hurts" was not so successful. A 1991 release, "You Can Do This", also failed to make an impression.
After his singing career ended, Jackson began appearing in advertisements, the most successful of which was his role in Energizer battery commercials during the late 1980s and early 1990s. The commercials ended with a manic Jacko yelling "Get Energizer. It’ll surprise you! Oi!". These commercials were shown extensively in the United States, even though few people knew of Jackson, during a period of high American interest in things Australian. He was the brand's last human spokesman before the emergence of the Energizer Bunny.
There was also a 10 in 1 "Oi! Jacko Gym" action figure toy that could talk, do push ups, lift weights and ride a skateboard—all battery operated, with Jacko wearing the battery company logo on his singlet. He was also linked with Nutri-Grain amongst other companies, and for a time worked as a professional actor for commercials.
Jacko has appeared in various television sitcoms and movies—one of the most notable being as survival expert "Jetto" in the short-lived action-adventure series The Highwayman (1988)—as well as being on talkback radio and in various children's programs and talk shows. During 2005 Jackson embarked on a tour with author and renowned criminal Mark "Chopper" Read.
Jackson also appeared in a televised Australian celebrity boxing match in 2002 in which he went up against Australian former rugby league centre Mal Meninga. Jackson was soundly defeated. Jackson had previously beaten Essendon toughman Ron Andrews in a points decision on 10 December 1984 in a six-round boxing match at the Perth Entertainment Centre.
- I’m an Individual (1985)
- Me Brain Hurts (1985)
- You Can Do This (1991)
- Jackson, Mark; Jon Anderson; R. Daubeny (1986). Jacko : Dumb like a fox. Victoria, Australia: Windsor. ISBN 0-7316-2804-7.
- 'I'd be bigger than the Bee Gees'
- Hugo Kelly (21 July 1986). "Revolution over before it started". The Age. Melbourne. p. 33.
- WAFL Footy Facts
- Mark JACKSON (South Fremantle)
- Peter Blucher (20 July 1987). "Jacko: I'm only in it for the money". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne. p. 75.
- "'Jacko' storms out—banned". Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney, NSW. 26 July 1987. p. 34.
- "Bogan Hunters—Series 1". JB Hi-Fi. 17 July 2014. Archived from the original on 23 December 2014. Retrieved 9 November 2014.