‘Club legend’ set to guide junior Roos

Marcus Clarke (right) with his son, Sam Clarke, after the Tumbarumba Kangaroos won the Upper Murray Football and Netball League under 14s grand final in 2019. Photo: Bec Clarke.

According to Tumbarumba Australian Football and Netball Club President, Mont Waters, ‘club legend’ Marcus Clarke is the right man to lead the next generation of Kangaroos into the 2021 Upper Murray Football and Netball League. 

Clarke, who retired from playing football after the Roos won their 2012 premiership, with take the reins of the under 14s, coaching his son Sam Clarke in what will be his last year playing in that age group. 

“He is a bloody club legend,” Waters said. 

“He is up there with the leading games played for Tumba, he would be in the top half dozen and when he finally won a premiership with us in 2012, he said ‘that will do’, and he has been coaching the young ones ever since.”

Waters explained that Clarke helped the under 14s to their grand final win in 2019, and before that focused on the under 10s and 11s age group.

“He had coached the under 10s and 11s for a couple of years, then he did help coach the 14s when they won flag in 2019,” Waters said. 

“He has a young bloke that is playing, which is no doubt why he wants to coach, but it is really good for the club. He has a good a football brain and he just knows football.”

Clarke, who has been involved with the club since he was 10, had a decorated playing career, debuting at 16, playing 210-odd games, and winning the 2012 premiership. 

“I’ve been involved since I was a kid and I played most of my footy here expect for a couple of seasons,” Clarke said. 

“I guess the 2012 premiership was the ultimate way to end, but while it was a good way to finish, it doesn’t beat all the friends and memories and always challenging yourself.” 

Clarke said he was looking forward to coaching the under 14s, which he labelled another challenge.

“I’ve been coaching the under 11s, or 10s as it was for the last five years and I guess that little step up to 14s is a challenge and I will continue to help develop the kids and it is good fun with the little fella,” Clarke said. 

 After assisting the under 14s at the tail end of 2019, before 2020 was scrapped due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Clarke said it was more important than ever to keep football going in Tumbarumba. 

“It’s really important to keep the kids footy going, because it is something they can do on a Saturday,” Clarke said. 

“It’s a challenge personally, but getting the kids to work as a team is important, because they look at footy as something bigger than themselves, which I think is important.”

While first grade and netball kick off their preseason tomorrow, the under 14s won’t start back until March, and Clarke said it will be good to get back into some winter sport again. 

“It’s going to be a bit of a challenge for them, and we need some players, especially if we want to keep the footy going,” Clarke said. 

“We will get together at the start of March and just go from there.”

Any junior footballers or netballers interested in getting involved with the Kangaroos for 2021, should keep tabs with the Tumbarumba Australian Football and Netball Club Facebook page, with information on registration and key dates available soon.