Clarke’s faith rewarded
ESSENDON recruit Zac Clarke is confident that he can play in the same team as Tom Bellchambers next season, having focused on his forward craft during a year of exile from the AFL.
Delisted by Fremantle at the end of 2017 after 101 games across eight seasons, the 203cm ruckman rediscovered top form in the WAFL this year, recording 17 disposals, 50 hit-outs and kicking a goal to help lead Subiaco to a dominant Grand Final win. That game, among others, caught the attention of several AFL clubs who put Clarke through medical examinations before the Victorian chose Essendon as his preferred destination and was listed during the AFL Pre-Season Supplemental Selection Period earlier this month.
Clarke, 28, began a teaching degree at university this year and took up a coaching role at a Perth high school, but said his determination to return to the AFL never wavered. “I was really confident if my body held up my best football is capable at AFL level, and that’s the way it went,” Clarke said.