Former Hawk adds experience to depleted Coburg list
Brent Diamond | January 25, 2009
COBURG Tigers have snared former Hawthorn midfielder Tim Clarke as a playing assistant coach in a new-look team for 2009.
The 26-year-old, who is also touted to be named captain, shied away from lucrative offers from West Adelaide and Canberra to remain in Melbourne.
Coburg general manager Craig Byron said Clarke's appointment was crucial after losing best-and-fairest winner Greg Tivendale, skipper Paul Shelton and Fortunato Caruso, who was lured to West Adelaide by former Coburg coach Andy Collins.
"Our average age has probably dropped from about 24 down to about 20. Even Clarkey's pretty young," Byron said.
"His hamstring played up on him last year (for Hawthorn), but we think he'll be right. He's assistant coach with David Bourke," he said.
Clarke played 96 games for the Hawks and was one of four players delisted from the premiership team after struggling with a niggling hamstring injury last season. (The other delisted players were Zac Dawson, Luke McEntee and Garry Moss.)
Under Jade Rawlings, the Tigers have had a massive turnover of players over summer and many fans would struggle to recognise the team since it was runner-up to Geelong in 2007.
Other noticeable faces at training include Matthew Deledio (Kyabram), the brother of Richmond's Brett, and Jacob Hislop, the brother of Tom, who was picked up by Richmond after Essendon delisted him.
"We think it's going to be great," Byron said. "We had a lot of 23- or 24-year-olds that weren't coming on. It's not all about winning reserves premierships so we just thought we'd clean them out and keep who we want and attract all these young kids. A lot of them are suburban footy players."
Byron said he was also excited to see former Port Melbourne goalsneak Robin Nahas in Tiger colours after Richmond selected the dynamic young player in the AFL rookie draft.
"He's going to brilliant and he'll be a great substitute for Caruso," he said.