AFL Queensland Programs and Participation Manager – Schools and Diversity, Damien Mitchelmore, has been named the 2021 Troy Clarke Award recipient.
After a record-breaking year taking the Queensland schools program to new heights, Mitchelmore is the 8th recipient of the annual award, named in honour of former AFL Queensland State Development Manager, Troy Clarke, who tragically passed away in late 2013.
Queensland Talent Manager, Mark Browning, presented Mitchelmore with the award at the AFL Queensland End of Year celebration.
“Key to receiving this award is the recipient lives and upholds the values of the AFL – playing to win, playing fair, playing as a team, and playing with passion. Our 2021 recipient has done all of those while smashing some records in the meantime,” said Browning.
“More than 12,000 participants from over 600 teams took part in the 2021 StreetSmarts AFLQ Schools Cup making it the most successful year of the state-wide competition since it began in 2016. It was a huge effort to complete the entire competition, with the second half of the year heavily affected by COVID and snap lockdowns which resulted in changing of flights, changing of venues, changing of gala days and the re-arranging of the finals series and the North Queensland Championships. He took it all in his stride and during the whole process only lost one team.
“He delivered the history-making AFL trial with the Queensland Girls Secondary Schools Association – a huge achievement to get footy into these girls schools. It’s the first time a collision sport has been played within this Association and the starting of this competition will most certainly be a breeding ground for future AFLW talent.
“Our AIC competition has gone to new heights with thousands of primary and secondary schools participants taking part. The Villanova College vs St Laurences College match had about 2,000 kids on the sideline at Coorparoo AFC watching, demonstrating the momentum Australian rules football has amongst the AIC.
“From compiling fixtures and draws to strategy sessions with School Principals, this person always gets on with it, has willingness to help out – be it shed clean outs, packing the truck, and he has a great can-do attitude.”
AFL Queensland congratulates Damien on his achievement.
About the award
The Troy Clarke Award is named in honour of former AFL Queensland employee Troy Clarke who passed away from coronary atherosclerosis in October 2013.
Clarke played 68 games with the Brisbane Bears between 1991 and 1996 and was the only North Queenslander named in the AFL Queensland Team of the Century shortlist.
Following his retirement from football, Clarke held various positions in game development and in 1999, became Gold Coast Development Manager where he oversaw the region transform into one of the richest talent sources in the AFL.
In 2011, Clarke became the AFL Queensland State Development Manager and in 2008, he was inducted into the AFL Queensland Hall of Fame.
Since his passing, AFL Queensland continued to recognise his legacy by bestowing the Troy Clarke Award to an employee within the organisation who shows outstanding service while showcasing the traits Clarke exhibited every day.
Pictured: Former Troy Clarke award recipient and Queensland Coaching and Education Lead, Jack Barry; Queensland Talent Manager, Mark Browning; 2021 Troy Clarke Award recipient and Queensland Programs and Participation Manager – Schools and Diversity, Damien Mitchelmore; Head of AFL Queensland, Trisha Squires; Former Troy Clarke Award recipient and Queensland Programs and Participation Manager – Metro North, Blaec Ablett.