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Matthew Clarke (Australian footballer)

Matthew Clarke (born 18 September 1973) is a former professional Australian rules football player and current coach who is the head coach of Adelaide in the AFL Women's. Prior to coaching, he played in the Australian Football League (AFL), his career spanning four clubs and a total of 258 games between 1993 and 2007. He was known as one of the most effective tap ruckmen of his era.[1]

Matthew Clarke
Aussie rules centre bounce Mel vs Ade.jpg
Clarke (#4) takes the tap from the ruck
Personal information
Full name Matthew Clarke
Nickname(s) Doc
Date of birth (1973-09-18) 18 September 1973 (age 45)
Original team(s) West Gambier
Draft 56th overall, 1990 AFL Draft
43rd overall, 1993 Pre-Season Draft
7th overall, 2006 Pre-Season Draft
Height 200 cm (6 ft 7 in)
Weight 100 kg (220 lb)
Position(s) Ruckman
Club information
Current club Adelaide
(women's coach)
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1991–1992 Richmond 000 0(0)
1993–1996 Brisbane Bears 069 0(6)
1997–1999 Brisbane Lions 061 (13)
2000–2006 Adelaide 118 (19)
2007 St Kilda 010 0(0)
Total 258 (38)
Representative team honours
Years Team Games (Goals)
South Australia ? (?)
Coaching career3
Years Club Games (W–L–D)
2019– Adelaide (women's) 0 (0–0–0)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 2007.
3 Coaching statistics correct as of 2018.
Career highlights
Sources: AFL Tables,


Playing careerEdit

Brisbane Bears/Lions careerEdit

Clarke was drafted by the Richmond Football Club from Mount Gambier in 1991 but did not play a senior game, spending the year playing for the Richmond Under 19s'. He was delisted at the end of 1992, but was picked up by the Brisbane Bears at pick 43 in the 1993 pre-season draft.

Debuting in 1993 with the Bears, "Doc" Clarke was a promising young Ruckman under coach Robert Walls and was particularly decisive with his tap work.

After being runner up in the Brisbane Bears Club Champion award in 1994 and 1996, he took out the Merrett-Murray best and fairest award in 1997 for the Brisbane Lions and consolidated his position as one of the league's best ruckmen.

Adelaide careerEdit

Clarke moved to the Crows in 2000.

In 2005 in the absence of suddenly emerged number one ruckman Ben Hudson, Clarke was surprisingly recalled from the South Adelaide side in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) to play a part in the Crows' run to the finals. He showed he was still an effective player, being labelled as one of the most effective "tap ruckmen" by commentator Robert Walls.

He played on during 2006, with 18 games, and after ruckman Rhett Biglands had an anterior cruciate ligament injury in the Crows' last game of 2006 (sidelining him for most if not all of the 2007 season), there was talk that Clarke may continue for another season. However, he retired from football at the end of the 2006 season after an AFL career of 248 games over 13 seasons.[2]

Return to football – St KildaEdit

There had been some speculation in December 2006 that Clarke may be drafted by St Kilda Football Club for the 2007 season, and although this was initially denied, on 12 December 2006, he was taken by the Saints with their selection in the 2007 Pre Season Draft.[3]

Clarke signed on with the club for one season only, but trained strongly over the pre season and was selected for the first game.

He performed strongly as the side's primary ruckman, displaying his usual ruckwork dexterity.

In September 2007, Clarke announced his retirement.[4]

Coaching careerEdit

On 23 May 2018, Clarke was announced as Adelaide's AFL Women's head coach from the 2019 season onwards.[5]


Clarke is a qualified veterinary scientist[3] (like his father) and is currently studying for an MBA.

Clarke is married to Adelaide radio personality Alison Carle. They have two children, Eloise Harper (born January 2010) and Samuel Fletcher (born March 2012).[6]

After retiring from playing, Clarke rejoined Adelaide Football Club as a ruck coach,[7] and later as a midfield development coach.[8] On 23 May 2018, Clarke was named as Adelaide's new senior coach for the AFL Women's competition, commencing in the 2019 season.[9]


  1. ^ Capel, Andrew (30 November 2006). "Clarke in sights of two clubs". The Advertiser. Retrieved 2 May 2012.
  2. ^ Clarke retires after 248 games
  3. ^ a b Pavlich talked into Freo captaincy
  4. ^ Barrett, Damian (20 September 2007). "Evergeen Harvey rolls on". Herald Sun. Retrieved 2 May 2012.
  5. ^ Balmer, Matt (23 May 2018). "Adelaide appoint Matthew Clarke as new AFLW coach". Fox Sports Australia. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  6. ^ Ali welcomes new Elmo into the world
  7. ^ Tippett tip for Crows ruck
  8. ^ AFC Staff Archived 12 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ "Clarke appointed AFLW Senior Coach". Retrieved 23 May 2018.

External linksEdit