From: Campbelltown/North Launceston
Number: 26 (1951-1955)
North Launceston beat Longford, City and Launceston for Clarke's services in 1949, and he was an instant hit, playing in two straight NTFA premierships and the 1950 state championship victory over Hobart.
Signing for Melbourne in late 1949, then again in 1950, he originally decided to stay in Tasmania for another season before changing his mind and opting to join the Demons. He joined after a six week battle where he was forced to appeal against his club's wishes. While waiting he had played two games with the South Colts team, and won an appeal from the league, prompting North Launceston to withdraw their objection.
He booted 25 goals in 13 games in his rookie year despite playing in just one win from 13 matches and was referred to in the Football Record as "one of the best recruits ever to come into the game".
In a much improved Demons side the next year he kicked 49 goals. In 1953 Melbourne went back to being a disappointment, and called into more defensive duties, Clarke managed just six goals in 15 matches.
In 1955 he kicked seven goals in Round 2, but then suffered a string of injuries. He hurt his back, his thigh and then his shoulder. He missed seven matches in a row before being surprisingly recalled for the 1955 Grand Final. Clarke kicked three goals to win a premiership in his last VFL match.
In early 1956, at the age of 25, he returned to Tasmania and joined North Hobart, topping the league goalkicking in the first season and playing for Tasmania in the Perth Carnival. In 1958 he joined New Norfolk as captain/coach and led the league goalkicking again in 1961.
Clarke achieved the rare feat of being selected in three "best" teams. As full-forward for North Launceston, centre-half forward for New Norfolk and amongst the best at North Hobart.
Also played for a team called 'Tech'.
Examiner - 13/10/1948
Examiner - 16/03/1949
Examiner - 24/10/1949
Examiner - 18/09/1950
Mercury - 13/01/1951
Examiner - 04/04/1951
Argus - 26/04/1951
Age - 01/05/1951
Mercury - 08/05/1951
Advocate - 15/01/1951
Age - 08/05/1951
Football Record R7 1951
Argus - 31/05/1951
Record - 09/06/1951
Age - 16/09/1955