Alex 'Jezza' Jesaulenko MBE (born 2 August 1945 Salzburg, Austria) is a former Australian rules footballer and coach. He is regarded as one of the game's greatest-ever players and is an official Legend of the Australian Football Hall of Fame. He immortalized his reputation in the game by taking the Mark of the Century in the 1970 VFL Grand Final.
A spectacular and popular player Jesaulenko was renowned for his high marking and goal kicking. In 1970 he kicked 115 goals in the season and went on to play in the famous 1970 VFL Grand Final against Collingwood. In front of a record MCG crowd of 121,000 fans Carlton came from a 44-point deficit at half-time to win.
In 1979 Jesaulenko was the playing coach of Carlton's premiership team, perhaps his finest moment in football. "Jezza" was in fact the last playing coach in the VFL to win a premiership.
Jesaulenko had pay disputes with Carlton in 1977. Subsequently he tied his ongoing presence at the club to then Carlton club president George Harris. At the end of the 1979 season Harris was ousted from his position and Jesaulenko cut all ties with Carlton.
Jesaulenko's marking skill was perhaps best highlighted by a spectacular mark over Graeme Jenkin in the legendary 1970 VFL Grand Final. The famous commentary has Mike Williamson shouting "Oh Jesaulenko, you beauty!". This "specky" is acclaimed by some to be the "Mark of the Century" and was the first to be recognised officially as the Mark of the Year; the medal awarded to the annual winner is called the Alex Jesaulenko Medal.
In 2006, Jesaulenko was featured in a Toyota Memorable Moments commercial with Stephen Curry and Dave Lawson, which involved spraypainting Jesaulenko's navy suit and trying several methods to recreate that mark he took almost 40 years ago, including a small trampoline, a stepladder and finally successfully with a large crane.
Jesaulenko revealed to Inside Football one day that his last name was actually Esaulenko instead of Jesaulenko. The famous Carlton champion said when he migrated to Australia as a young lad from Europe, he had arrived in Australia when the immigration officials actually listed "Esaulenko" with a "J" in front of "E", thinking that the heard a J in his name.
Jezza is mentioned in the song "The Back Upon Which Jezza Jumped" by Melbourne band TISM [This Is Serious Mum]. The song depicts Graeme 'Jerker' Jenkin being left to be forgotten because of Jezza's spectacular mark (TISM, 1985).
|Alex Jesaulenko Premiership Teams|
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