MATURE-AGE recruit Greg Clark won’t shy away from pushing for an early-season debut after landing at West Coast as the fairytale story of the NAB AFL Draft.
Clark was overlooked for six years before finally getting his chance on Thursday night after the Eagles traded back into the draft to snare the 24-year-old with pick No.62.
The Subiaco midfielder, who starred during the WAFL finals and was awarded the Simpson Medal as best on ground in the Grand Final, arrived at the Eagles’ Lathlain base on Friday.
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He said he was ready to learn from the club’s top-line midfielders and make up for lost time, challenging himself to play from round one.
“Being that bit older I have the expectation of myself, and I’ve spoken to members of the football club that it is to have an immediate impact,” Clark said on Friday.
“I’m not going to shy away from that, but at the same time I’m under no illusions that it’s going to be a walk in the park.
“I’ve still got to learn the way and learn the culture of the football club and really buy in.
“I think my body is ready and my mind is ready, but there’s still a lot I’ve got to learn, so I’ll be soaking it in.”
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Clark will be reunited with three-time Subiaco premiership coach Jarrad Schofield, who has joined the Eagles as stoppage and strategy coach, as well as development coach Kyal Horsley, who captained three flags for the Lions.
“When I was younger, I didn’t appreciate the kind of coach I had at the time, but I think he’ll go down as one of Subi’s greatest coaches,” Clark said of Schofield.
“He’ll be looking after the stoppages and being a midfielder, I get to be under that tutelage.
“Someone said we’ve got a bit of a Subi cult going on down here, a bit of a Subi flavour, and I’m happy to add to that … it’ll help me settle a bit.”
Clark said he felt like the big brother of the Eagles’ 2021 draft class, which includes WA trio Brady Hough (pick No.31), Rhett Bazzo (No.37) and Jack Williams (No.57).
Victorian half-back/wingman Campbell Chesser, who was secured with pick No.14 after the Eagles traded back two spots in the first round, remains in Victoria.
Bazzo, a 195cm intercepting defender who was considered a bargain selection late in the second round, said he was looking forward to learning off new teammates Tom Barrass and Jeremy McGovern.
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The 18-year-old said it was a special moment to share Thursday’s draft with his mum and sister, knowing his late father Steve, who died when Rhett was 11, would be watching on proudly.
“I try to do him proud and my family proud, so it was a good day yesterday,” Bazzo said.
“There were a few nerves around, but I was happy when I had my name read out by West Coast.”