Bombers sign ex-Docker ruck
ESSENDON has officially signed ex-Fremantle ruckman Zac Clarke.
Clarke has signed a oneyear deal with the Bombers under the AFL’s new pre-season supplemental period that allows clubs to sign players who have previously nominated for the national draft or been on an AFL list as rookies.
The former Docker, who was delisted at the end of 2017 after 101 games in nine seasons, will add much-needed ruck depth behind Tom Bellchambers at Essendon following the retirement of Matthew Leuenberger.
“I’m really grateful for the opportunity to play with a club like Essendon and thank them for their belief in me as a player,” Clarke said.
“I grew up in Melbourne, so it’s great to be moving back home after 10 years away.
“I’m keen to hit the ground running over the pre-season and want to prepare as best as I can and learn the Bombers’ exciting game style as much as possible from the playing group and coaches.”
Clarke played for WAFL club Subiaco this year and had an impressive season, averaging 39 hit-outs, 15.7 disposals and a goal a game.
He also played a starring role in Subiaco’s grand-final victory with 50 hit-outs, 17 disposals, seven marks and a goal. NATHAN Buckley has made a temporary return from an Italian holiday and his players have been told there will be “nowhere to hide” over preseason.
Buckley has flown back to Melbourne midway through a three-month break and has popped in and out of the club ahead of tomorrow’s official start to pre-season training.
Pies fitness staff have taken charge of training since the club’s one-to-four year players returned on November 19 and senior players including skipper Scott Pendlebury, Lynden Dunn and Chris Mayne made early starts to their 2019 preparation.
After taking his side to within five points of a premiership, Buckley jetted to Europe, where he spent time with English Premier League giants Chelsea and caught up with club staff also overseas for a conference, before putting the feet up in Italy.
Buckley will fly back to Italy once Collingwood takes its three-week Christmas break from December 18.
Technically, the coach won’t miss an official training session, but the lengthy Italian vacation is the latest showing of his new-found powers of delegation — seen by many as a major factor in the Pies’ stunning resurgence.