Vale Troy Clarke

Queensland’s AFL community has lost one of its greatest characters, with the tragic passing of State Development Manager, Troy Clarke.

Queensland’s AFL community has lost one of its greatest characters, with the tragic passing of State Development Manager, Troy Clarke.

An AFL Queensland Hall of Fame member, Clarke, 44, played 68 games for the Brisbane Bears between 1991 and 1996 and was the only North Queenslander on the Queensland Team of the Century shortlist , but it was his impact on footy after his retirement that will be his true legacy to the game.

Originally from South Cairns, Clarke was an outstanding junior footballer, representing Queensland in U17s and winning the Cairns League B&F at 17.

After missing out on selection in the foundation Brisbane Bears team, Clarke plied his trade in South Australia, for West Torrens, playing 64 games and winning selection in the 1989 South Australian Team of the Year.

That form saw the Bears draft him in 1990 and the next year, he went on to play in their reserves premiership side as well as the Queensland side that beat Victoria.

In his last three years at the Bears (1994-96), Clarke began his off-field career, working as a junior development officer for Mt Gravatt.

After his AFL retirement in 1996, Clarke was a playing coach at Tasmania’s Sandy Bay AFC, as well as working in administration for the Southern Districts Football Club.

Back in his home state, Clarke joined the Redland Sharks Sporting Club as a junior development officer, before becoming the Gold Coast development manager in 1999.

Clarke led the way for the development of footy on the Gold Coast in the last decade, involved in both coaching some of the state’s future stars as well as the growth of the sport in the region, becoming a well-known and well-loved part of the footy scene.

In his 12 years on the Coast, Clarke was the head coach of the Gold Coast U16 Stingrays Development squad in 2000 and assisted in state representative teams ranging from U12s to U18s.

In his role, Clarke oversaw the progression of the Gold Coast into a hub for football talent, with it becoming the state’s greatest source of AFL draftees, state league and state representative players.

His impact on the region was formally recognised in 2006, with Clarke the recipient of a National High Achievers Award at the AFL National Development Conference.

Since 2011, Clarke led the growth of Australian football across Queensland as State Development Manager, with participation increasing to almost 160,000 people across the state.

It is rare to find anyone in Queensland football that hasn’t come into contact with “Clarkey”, and impossible to find someone with a bad word to say about him.

Our thoughts are with Troy’s wife, Natalie and children, Lachlan and Taylor at this difficult time.

Clarkey will be greatly missed, but never forgotten, by the football community.

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