Winning a club best and fairest is an outstanding achievement. Doing it in a premiership year puts you amongst an elite few.
Adam Clarke has capped off a whirlwind 2015 by clearing out in the Labrador Best and Fairest.
Clarke polled 144 votes throughout the season, a staggering 83 votes ahead of runner up Adam Baird.
Clarke, who made the move back from Southport to Tigerland in 2015, certainly wasn’t expecting to have the instant impact he did on the competition.
“When I first came to Labrador at the start of the year I wasn’t expecting much. I was hoping to get a couple of wins and end the season well. To win a premiership and a best and fairest is something I was never expecting,” he said.
One word epitomises Clarkes’ game. Electric.
His speed, run, carry, and spread on the outside are unrivaled in the competition. A lot of players have had a good look at his heels this year as he runs off with the footy.
Clarke believes if it weren’t for the backline, this wouldn’t be possible.
“I owe a lot to the backline kicking it out in front of me and letting me run. I don’t mind a bit of space,” he said.
“I try and tuck it under the arms and gain 20 yards or so, so I do like finding a bit of space where I can.”
His good form this year has come off the back of staying fit and healthy. Something he hasn’t been able to do in years past.
“Last year I had a couple of injuries, my football wasn’t great it was only average, so coming to the QAFL I felt more relaxed. All the guys at the club really helped me out and made my life easy,” Clarke said.
“This year my fitness and ability to get on the track each week definitely helped. I struggled the first few years trying to get on the track with injuries and things, so being out there every session was huge.”
Clarke, who was also selected at number 1 in the QAFL Top 50 Players this year, hardly put a foot wrong in 2015. All that he has achieved this year is still sinking in.
“It’s a lot to take in. My brother was in the same boat in 2010 but unfortunately lost the grand final. I’m privileged and honoured to be named as the best and fairest of a premiership side, I still kick myself about it.
When speaking about the last Saturday in September, you could still hear the delight and the joy in his voice. It was like he was speaking five minutes after the siren.
“Until the final siren went you didn’t know whether you will win or lose. When the siren went it was such an amazing feeling. Seeing all the supporters running on to the field, seeing the old guys who have supported the Labrador club for all these years, to sing that song for them was an incredible feeling. To bring the two cups back that night meant it was a very good night,” he said.
While 2015 was such a success on all fronts, don’t have any doubts about his hunger to keep improving.
“What we were about in 2015, we have got to make sure we are the same or better in 2016,” Clarke said.
“We just need to make sure we maintain that competitiveness. We know we are losing a couple of guys like Josh Fraser who has gone back to Melbourne, but we have got some key blokes coming in next year that will help replace them.”
The scariest thing of all this? Clarke is just 23. He’s only going to get better and better.
Seniors Best and Fairest count
144 A.Clarke – B&F
61 A.Baird – R-Up
57 B.Hicks – Most Determined
Z.Brain – Coaches Award
B.Bantoft – Golden Fist
Reserves Best and Fairest count
Colts Best and Fairest Count
By Andrew Wiles