Alex Jesaulenko – Retired Australian Rules Football Player
Australian Football Hall of Fame’s official legend, Alex Jesaulenko is considered as one of the greatest players to have ever played in Australian Rules.
Born on August 2, 1945, Alex Jesaulenko is one of the greatest players to have ever played in Australian Rules. He was born in Austria’s Salzburg and played in Victorian National League (VFL) from 1960s to 1980s. Alex played for both St Kilda and Carlton football clubs. The Australian nominated Alex in 2009 as one of the 25 greatest players of Australian Rules who have never won Brownlow Medal throughout their playing career. Alex’s reputation became immortal in the Grand Final of 1970 when he took the Mark of the Century.
1967-1979 – Carlton Football Club
Alex Jesaulenko made his VFL debut with Carlton Football Club in 1967. However, prior to that, he played for Eastlake and played in three back-to-back premierships from 1964 to 1966 for Eastlake. It was during his playing career with Eastlake that he instilled a winning culture in himself that went a long way during his VFL career. For Carlton, he played 256 games and kicked 424 goals. In years 1968, 1970, 1972 & 1979, he was the part of premiership winning team of Carlton. In 1970 season, Alex scored 115 goals, becoming Carlton’s first player to score more than 100 goals in a single season. It was in 1970 that he made his name immortal in Australian Rules by taking Mark of the Century. In the Grand Final between Carlton and Collingwood, Carlton was behind Collingwood by 44 points but Alex’s extraordinary performance eventually helped Carlton to emerge as winner by 10 points. In 1977, Alex had some disputes regarding his pay but somehow the problems were settled. In 1979, he became the playing coach of Carlton’s premiership team. After the final however, Alex left Carlton and joined St Kilda.
1980- 1981 – St Kilda Football Club
In 1980, Alex Jesaulenko managed to strike a deal with Lindsay Fox, the then president of St Kilda and joined the club. Jesaulenko started playing as an on-field player but eventually he became a playing coach after Round 2 of 1980 Season after Fox sacked Mike Patterson – the then coach of St Kilda. Alex’s career with St Kilda was short lived and he played for only 2 seasons from 1980 to 1981 and managed to score 20 goals from the total of 23 games he played. Alex however did not complete the 1981 season and eventually retired after Round 8 of that season. Interestingly enough, Alex became the last every player in VFL to have served as a captain-coach. He actually captained the team during 1981 season until his retirement.
Final Two Years of Football
After leaving St Kilda, Alex Jesaulenko was appointed as captain-coach for Sandgate in QAFL. He served for two years and then stopped playing at the age of 39. He got involved in hotel business in Queensland. However, in 1989, Carlton called by Alex to serve as Caretaker Coach after sacking Robert Wall for extraordinarily poor performance. In the first half of the season, Carlton lost 8 out of 10 matches they played but with Alex’s return, Carlton at least managed to finish at a respectable position of 8 on the ladder. Next year Alex was replaced by David Parkin.
Awards And Achievements
Alex Jesaulenko was definitely one of the most respected and brilliant players of his time. He has a long list of awards and achievements, which are briefly mentioned below:
- 1968, 1970, 1972 – Member of Carlton Premiership Team.
- 1979 – Captain-Coach of Carlton Premiership Team.
- 196-1971 – Carlton is leading goal-kicker.
- 1974-1976 – Carlton’s captain.
- 1978-1979 – Carlton’s captain.
- 1975 – Alex won John Nicholls Medal.
- 1981 – Captain-Coach of St Kilda.
- 1969 and 1972 – Alex was a member of All-Australian team.
- Alex is a member of Carlton Team of the Century.
- He is also a member of AFL Team of the Century.
- 1996 – Alex was inducted in Australian Football Hall of Fame.
- 2008 – He earned the Legend Status in Australian Football Hall of Fame.
For years to come Alex will remain as role model for many current and future players of Australian Rules and his fame will continue to live forever.