South Sydney players shied away from firing shots at former coach Anthony Seibold this week, but star hooker Damien Cook says he loves the rivalry emerging between the two NRL clubs.
Better known for his brilliance in the Playstation 2 game rugby league than for his actual NRL performances, Joven holds a special place in the hearts of gamers and fans alike.
Further endearing him to rugby league fans is his memorable appearance on The Footy Show in 2003. Clarke was hypnotised by Peter Powers and began crying when Mark ‘Piggy’ Riddell ‘dobbed’ on him.
One of the tiniest players to ever step foot on a rugby league field, Clarke stood at 172cm and just 72kg, but what he lacked in size he made up for with pace. Clarke’s 100m personal best of 10.49 seconds makes him one of the all-time fastest players to make the grade.
Clarke made his debut for South Sydney in 2002, playing in six consecutive matches and scoring four tries toward the back-end of the season. In the process, he picked up the ‘Most exciting debut’ award from the club.
But, despite his blinding pace and try-scoring prowess his small frame was exploited time and again by opposition defences. That meant Clarke’s first-grade opportunities were severely limited.
The headgear-wearing wonder made just two further appearances for the club, one in 2003 and one in 2006. Souths were wooden spooners both seasons.
A reserve grade stalwart, Clarke was signed by Cronulla for the 2007 season but would spend that year struggling to even get a run with the NSW Cup squad, spending much of the season in the local competition playing for the Helensburgh Tigers.
With his rugby league career effectively over, little Joven tried his hand at rugby union and enjoyed reasonable success, playing for The Philippines national team. He played two tests for ‘The Volcanoes’ in the 5 Nations Asian Cup in 2011.
Clarke has since gone on to serve Australia in the armed forces and played in the curtain raiser to the 2011 Australia and New Zealand rugby league Test match between the Army and Australian Navy.