Full name Clarence John Hooper Known as Jackie Hooper
Born 28 February 1913
Senior clubs Port Adelaide and Claremont
Recruited from Port Adelaide in 1935
Port Adelaide Played between 1931 – 1934 and played 52 games for 41 goals
Claremont 1941 – 1946 Played 162 games and scored 218 goals.
The archetypal ‘pocket dynamo’, ‘Jackie’ Hooper commenced his league career in 1931 when he played a single game for Port Adelaide. He became a regular senior player the following year. Christened ‘Clarence John Hooper’ but invariably referred to as ‘Jackie’, Hooper combined with Bob Quinn to give the Magpies arguably the best roving combination in South Australia.
However, in 1935 he accepted an offer to play with Claremont, which was just about to embark on its 10th season in the WANFL, and was determinedly endeavouring to put together a side capable of challenging for the premiership for the first time. The last of Hooper’s 52 senior games for Port had been the losing Grand Final of 1934 against Glenelg (reviewed here). He had also played four interstate matches and kicked eight goals for South Australia.
With Claremont, things took an unexpected twist early in Hooper’s first season when the club’s coach, Charlie Parsons, had to stand down because of work commitments. After due deliberation, the club committee offered Hooper the role, and he accepted. It was not a successful season, however, as the Monts managed just five wins from 18 games to finish second from bottom. Nevertheless, on a personal front, Hooper enjoyed a fine season, culminated by his winning the club’s fairest and best trophy.
In 1936, Hooper was replaced as coach by Dick Lawn, but he continued to give the club excellent service as a player. Indeed, he was one of the real cornerstones of what might be called Claremont’s ‘first golden era’, playing as first rover in the losing Grand Finals of 1936 and 1937, and in the premiership sides of the ensuing three seasons. When he finally retired at the end of the 1946 season he had played a total of 162 WANFL games, and earned himself a prominent place in the club’s unofficial ‘Hall of Fame’.
Hooper also played eight games for Western Australia, kicking 17 goals. He seemed to reserve his best interstate performances for clashes with his home state, with the most noteworthy being his three-goal, best afield display in the opening match of the 1937 Perth carnival, a match which Western Australia won by a then record margin of 114 points. He was also listed high among the best players on view after a rare West Australian win in Adelaide in 1938, as well as when they established a new record margin of victory (123 points) later that same season at Subiaco.
Hooper’s son Jeremy Hooper later extended the family tradition by playing 26 games for the Tigers between 1966 and 1970.
Author – John Devaney