Players’ Voice — Zac Clarke

Players’ Voice — Zac Clarke

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In my last year at Fremantle, I was hopeful that I would earn a contract extension.

The way that things transpired with my injuries, despite not being able to play a game, I thought that I would still get another year but when it didn’t fall that way I wasn’t disappointed.

I understood the situation and was optimistic that another team would give me a chance during the Delisted Free Agency period and the draft but when that didn’t happen, the reality sunk in that I would have to earn myself a spot back in the big league.

Still, there was a sense of confidence that as long as I got my body right, I would be able to give myself the best chance to get back into the AFL system.

When the opportunity presented itself with the Subiaco Football Club I knew I would be able to give myself an opportunity to continue my career.

I trusted their players and staff that they would be able to get the best out of me and that’s exactly what happened.

Thankfully, my body held up and I played every game in the WAFL without any issues.

The year off allowed me to rehab my injuries and get everything right.

It paid off in the end because I haven’t had any issues for 12 months. It’s been as good as can be expected.

I owe Subiaco everything for what they did for me this year.

They gave me an enjoyable year of football, topped off with a premiership, and reignited my passion for the game after a lean final year with Fremantle.

I also spent my year out of the game as a full-time university student after transferring into a teaching degree.

With a little bit of flexibility in my schedule I also started coaching basketball and football at Wesley College.

I really enjoyed the experience and challenge that comes with coaching your own team and seeing the game from a different perspective.

During the year, my manager and I discussed the interest in me so we went through the process and met with clubs to see where I would be the best fit to return to the AFL.

Throughout this time, we discovered the new supplementary selection period was starting and I was eligible to be signed outside of the draft.

For me, if one of the teams was interested enough and keen to go down that track that was something I would explore.

As it turned out, Essendon presented and that’s how I landed there.

Photo credit: Daniel Wilkins/WAFL

I won’t be the oldest at the club but being 29 next year I’ll be in the older bracket.

I’ll work with the younger players in a mentoring role and hopefully help to fast track their development.

After I was delisted with Fremantle I mapped out where I wanted to go in my career but with the opportunity Essendon has presented I’m ready to start the next chapter of my AFL journey.

What do you think?

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