Magnetic Island’s Dirk Koenen has been awarded the 2015 Troy Clarke Scholarship, named after the former Brisbane Bears player and respected AFL Queensland Game Development Manager who passed away in 2013 at just 44 years of age.
The scholarship is designed to support a young person from regional Queensland each year, who displays the same core values – such as dedication, passion and respect – that Clarke embodied throughout his life.
At just 15, Dirk Koenen already has an impressive resume.
Since pulling on the boots for the Magnetic Magpies at five, he’s represented North Queensland, Queensland Country and Queensland at Under 12 and Under 15 level and is a member of the Gold Coast SUNS Academy.
Koenen was presented with the award from Troy Clarke Scholarship Ambassador Kurt Tippett who was full of praise for the North Queenslander’s passion and commitment.
“These are great achievements for any young player, but for Dirk it’s even more impressive,” said
“He lives on Magnetic Island and has to travel by boat to Townsville every day for school and football training.”
Koenen aims to follow in the footsteps of his three elder sisters, all high achievers in their chosen sporting field.
Breanna (20) plays for the AFL Queensland Women’s State team, Cara (19) is a member of the Australian Institute of Sport under 19 netball squad and a Queensland Firebird, and Alyssa (17) is in the Australian Surf Life Saving Australia Squad.
“Growing up watching my three elder sisters play for the magnetic island magpies every week, I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to join them,” he said.
Koenen also excels off the field. He has received an academic scholarship and plans to study Physiotherapy when he finishes school.
In accepting the award he said that participating in sport in regional areas like Magnetic Island was not always easy.
“Having the Clarke family understand firsthand the issues of being in a regional area is fantastic, and to show their support is truly fantastic.”
“I will endeavour to be a worthy recipient of this scholarship throughout my career. I’m totally committed to representing my sport with pride and integrity, always professional and respectful at all times.”
The scholarship will help Koenen realise his dream of playing in the AFL by assisting the financial costs associated with his representative program. He will also receive one-on-one mentoring from Kurt Tippett.