Jon Clarke returns to rugby league in role with NRL club Manly Sea Eagles: ‘An unbelievable opportunity’

Drew Darbyshire
Jon Clarke Manly Sea Eagles Alamy

Jon Clarke has returned to rugby league with NRL side Manly Sea Eagles - Alamy

Former Great Britain international hooker Jon Clarke has returned to rugby league in a role with NRL club Manly Sea Eagles.

The 44-year-old has recently taken up a new role as head of performance at the Sea Eagles ahead of the 2024 campaign.

Clarke made almost 400 career appearances during his rugby league playing career for Wigan Warriors, London Broncos, Warrington Wolves and Widnes Vikings as well as winning two caps for Great Britain on the international stage.

The Lowton-born hooker retired from playing in 2014 and went on to enjoy performance roles with Widnes and Warrington in Super League before linking up with England Rugby Union ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Clarke, who was also part of the coaching staff on the British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa in 2021, has now returned to rugby league to link up with Manly as the NRL club’s head of performance.

Jon Clarke on new role with Manly Sea Eagles: ‘An unbelievable opportunity’

Upon joining the Sea Eagles, Clarke has reunited with a couple of familiar faces in chief executive Tony Mestrov and head coach Anthony Seibold: both of whom he played alongside during his 18-year playing career.

In an interview with Manly’s official club website, Clarke said: “Tony came across to Wigan in 1998 when I was 17 or 18. He was a great front-row signing for Wigan. He played really well under coach John Monie.

“We both later joined the London Broncos, so there was a connection there already when I came to Manly.

“It was at the London Broncos when I first met Seibs. We had a year there. He was a front-rower. Our paths separated and came back together when Seibs worked for England Rugby where I had been for a few years. We tried our hands at a different sport in union, which we loved.

“Seibs then got the head coach role at Manly for 2023. We spoke a little bit about me coming over. This was always an ambition of mine to have a crack at the NRL. I never got the chance as a player, so this was an unbelievable opportunity.”

Clarke won a Super League title with Wigan back in 1999 and the Challenge Cup with Warrington in 2010.

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