A junior with Spearwood Dalmatinac and Fremantle United, Tarka joined Cockburn City as a 16-year old and in next to no time had established himself as a first team regular. An impressive showing in State team colours at the 1999 Schools National Championship led to Australian Schoolboys selection on their tour of Britain in November of the same year. Upon completion of the tour Tarka accepted a scholarship at the Australian Institute of Sport, and in his second year captained the side which competed in the Northern Division of the National Youth League.
In July 2001 Tarka agreed terms with National Soccer League side Perth Glory. He made his national league debut in October 2001 with a late substitute appearance in the 7-2 away thrashing of Kingz FC. His season was interrupted in December 2002 when Tarka, as team vice-captain, helped the Australia Under-20's qualify for the following years' World Youth Championship. Upon returning to club football Tarka regained his place in the line-up and by seasons' end had 17 appearances and a Premiers winners medal to his credit.
Tarka built on those successes with a further 28 games for Glory, culminating in their Grand Final victory over Olympic Sharks in June 2003. With a number of English clubs showing interest, Tarka signed a two-year deal worth $250,000 with First Division outfit Nottingham Forest in August 2003. That November he played his part in the Australia Under-20's qualifying for the 2003 World Youth Championships, and a month later played all four games as the Young Socceroos went through to the last eight of the tournament.
In January 2004 Tarka featured for the Australia Under-23 team which navigated their way through the Oceania qualifying tournament for that year's Olympic Games. While in camp with the Olyroos Tarka picked up a virus which infected his heart, forcing the defender out of contention when he returned to club duty. In August 2004 Tarka made his full Australia debut in a 3-0 World Cup qualifier win over Vanuata, and two days later featured again, this time against the Solomon Islands.
Part of Australia's Olympic Games squad, Tarka's time with Forest was further hampered by a succession of hamstring injuries and in January 2005 he was released by the English club. He was snapped up by Glory the following month on a three-year contract, however, his third hamstring tear in eighteen months out him in the operating table. Tarka made his Glory comeback official in the November 2005 A-League fixture against Newcastle United Jets but managed just two further appearances before the season was out.
Tarka's out-standing form in 2006/07 led to talk of a Socceroos recall. Having missed just a single game that season, he scooped the pool at Glory's presentation night by taking home the Most Glorious Player as well as trophies as the Player's Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year. 2007/08 was less than 20 minutes when disaster struck, a ruptured a hamstring tendon forcing Tarka to miss the rest of the season.
Armed with a new one-year contract signed in March 2008, Tarka headed into his sixth season at Glory determined to make up for lost time. He suffered a quadricep injury on the opening day of the season but played through the pain for a month before again taking time out. Now 25, Tarka came good towards the end of the season but in May 2009 was released after managing to play just 33 games in four years.
|04.06.2004||Vanuatu (Adelaide)||3-0 (won)||World Cup qualifier||Full game|
|06.06.2004||Soloman Islands (Adelaide)||2-2 (draw)||World Cup qualifier||Sub off after 46 minutes for Ahmad Elrich|
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This page was last updated on the 1st June 2010.