Clarke A Rising Star Nominee
Former Oakleigh Chargers player Zac Clarke from the Fremantle Football Club is the Round 20 NAB AFL Rising Star nominee.
The 203cm ruckman played his best match for the Dockers against St Kilda last Friday night in Melbourne with 26 hitouts, 15 disposals and five tackles.
The former basketballer played five games after his AFL debut in Round 12 2009 and then played three games in 2010. Zac, 21, broke back into the side in Round 11 this year and played every match since.
Fremantle coach Mark Harvey said Zac had learnt the game relatively quickly and has taken his development to the next level this season.
“Zac’s nomination is a just reward for the way he has evolved during the past three years,” Harvey said.
“He had a raw background in football, coming to the game relatively late after playing a lot of basketball as a junior. So he probably didn’t have that much football instinct or knowledge of how to go about the game.
“But in the time that he has been with us, Zac has developed a good grasp of AFL, and, in particular, what’s required in the ruck. He’s also got the athletic attributes to run and be involved in transition for longer periods.”
Harvey said that in recent weeks, Clarke had shone in the absence of ruckmen Aaron Sandilands and Jon Griffin.
“Without those two players, Zac’s effectively been our number one ruckman,” Harvey said.
“He’s going to get more scrutiny and be watched and dissected, so he knows that he needs to keep improving. But there’s a lot more development left in him and that’s really exciting.”
In 2008 Zac represented Vic Metro in the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships and played for the Oakleigh Chargers. He was recruited from the Surrey Park Junior Football Club in Melbourne.
Zac was Fremantle’s third round selection in the 2008 NAB AFL Draft, selection 37 overall.
Following each round of the home and away season, a panel of judges will select a NAB AFL Rising Star nominee. At the completion of the season, one of these nominees will be chosen as the 2011 NAB AFL Rising Star.
The 2011 NAB AFL Rising Star will receive a personal investment folio and a dedicated personal banker, courtesy of NAB.
NAB will recognise the junior clubs that helped foster the early careers of the nominated players. Each of the 24 clubs will receive a NAB Club Recognition Award, a package of practical and financial resources designed to assist them in developing future champions.
The NAB AFL Rising Star is the pinnacle of the NAB AFL Rising Stars Program, which supports grassroots players and football communities and helps young Australians fulfil their dream of playing in the AFL.
The NAB AFL Rising Stars Program provides recognition and a clearly identifiable direction for a player's career, and comprises the following elements:
· NAB AFL Rising Star
· NAB AFL Draft
· NAB AFL Draft Combine
· NAB AFL Under 18 Championships
· AIS-AFL Academy
· NAB AFL Under 16 Championships