Jack 'Chooka' Howell
Career: Circa 1942
VFL/AFL Clubs: Carlton 137 games
RECRUITED BY CARLTON—1942
PLAYED—1942-1944, 1946-1950, 1952-1954.
137 GAMES—246 GOALS
BEST & FAIREST—1946, 1948.
BROWNLOW MEDAL—RUNNER UP 1946
CLUB LEADING GOALKICKER—1952 (42 GOALS)
VICTORIAN PLAYER—1947, 1950, 1953.
CARLTON HALL OF FAME—1991
Recruited from Chelsea at 17 years of age, Jack was one of six youngsters blooded in the season opener against South Melbourne. His father witnessed the 40 point drubbing and was so concerned at the rough treatment handed out to his young son that he refused to allow him to play for the remainder of the year.
Jack’s progress was further hampered with the advent of the Second World War. Enlistment in the RAAF saw him play a limited number of games in 1943 and 1944. He missed Carlton’s 1945 premiership season altogether but came back a more mature and physically prepared footballer in 1946.
‘Chooka,’ like his father before him, was named such because of his ungainly gait. It was a misleading nick-name as Jack Howell was in fact, deceptively agile and extremely quick for a big man. Tall for that era at 193cm, Jack also had long, spidery arms which gave him an advantage at ruck contests. He was also blessed with extraordinary stamina he could stay on the ball all day if required. As his goal kicking record suggests, he had a liking for the forward line and became a very dangerous key position forward.
Post-war he became one of Carlton’s greats and was described by Carlton coach Percy Bentley as ‘the best tap ruckman the game has seen.’ The list of honours that Jack achieved adds weight to that opinion.
A member of the Big V carnival teams in 1947, 1950 and 1953 he was selected in the inaugural All Australian Team after the last of those championships.