TOP quality ruckmen might grow on trees at Cobden.
The Bombers – home of three-time Hampden league best and fairest Levi Dare and emerging AFL tall Sean Darcy – have another ruck talent in their midst.
Matt Clarke, who stands at 200 centimetres, is the tallest player on TAC Cup club Greater Western Victoria Rebels’ 2018 list.
Clarke, 17, said he was lucky to have highly-regarded talls to watch and learn from at Cobden.
“(Levi) is not the tallest ruckman out there but his footy smarts and experience are high,” he said.
“Even Paul Hinkley, who has come back, can play back and ruck and is good with the kids and our under 18 coach Brad Couch played senior football as a ruckman.”
Clarke, who lives a drop punt from the Bombers’ home ground, is considered a project player. Injuries have impacted his junior career.
The Cobden Tech School captain said he was surprised to make the Rebels’ cut.
“Before pre-season I never really expected to have a chance,” he said.
“It’s been a good experience. I am really stoked and proud of the achievement. I’ve gotten further than I thought I would.”
Clarke hopes his “little bit of pace might surprise some people” in the statewide competition but he’s keeping his ambitions in check.
“I am raw so they are really keen to develop me as a ruckman and see how I go,” he said.
Rebels talent manager Phil Partington was a project player with upside.
“He’s top-age but he could possibly be a 19-year-old next year because he’ll be a late developer as a ruck,” he said.
The Rebels have had success developing overage ruckmen with Rowan Marshall (St Kilda) and Lloyd Meek (Fremantle) making AFL lists in the past two seasons.
“It is pretty exciting to see that, it gives you a bit of hope,” Clarke said.