Troy Clarke Scholarship awarded

Story: Andrew Hamilton courtesy Sunday Mail Photo: Adam Head

TOM Matthews is a genuine superboot for the Swans — and Kurt Tippett hopes he will finish his career as one.

Tippett, the Sydney spearhead, met Matthews, a 14-year-old gun from Dalby Swans and one of the most prolific goalkickers in the country.

On the eve of the Swans’ clash with the Suns on the Gold Coast today, Tippett made an early visit to Metricon Stadium to present Matthews with the inaugural Troy Clarke scholarship — established in memory of the beloved AFLQ stalwart and former Brisbane Bear, who died suddenly at the age of just 44 last year.

Matthews, 14, has already played 200 games.

Matthews is literally a superboot, already lacing up size 12 shoes, and has posted a series of goalkicking records on his way to becoming the youngest person to rack up 200 games for the Dalby Swans.

“He has certainly got me covered, I know he kicked over a 100 last season so he is obviously very talented,’’ Tippett said.

“And he’s played 200 for his Swans, I’d like to do that too … but I’m size 14, that’s the only thing I’ve got over him.’’

Clarke was the man who spotted Tippett on a basketball court and convinced him to give footy a go. Naturally, the towering Swan feels privileged to serve as ambassador for the foundation.

The scholarship will help Matthews realise his dream of playing in the AFL by assisting with the costs, mostly clocked up by a gruelling travel schedule, as he strives to meet his playing and training commitments with various representative sides.

“’I’m really excited to win this scholarship, I’ve read a lot about Troy and I hope I’m lucky enough to have someone like him help me with my career,’’ Matthews said.

The rising star lives 200km west of Brisbane and competes the six-hour round trip to the city a couple of times a week for training with the state under-14s.

His biggest weekend came in the under-12s when he played for the Swans in the morning, ran off the field and straight into his parents’ car for a trip to Brisbane for a trial game for the state under-12, then fronted up again on Sunday morning for the Darling Downs in a rep game in Brisbane.

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