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Saturday, February 29 2020 @ 08:23 am ACDT

Marty Clarke vs Hawthorn

EuropeOne Sunday I headed to the MCG. In the interests of full disclosure I am a Hawthorn fan. But today I went along to see what Marty Clarke's game was like. The Irishman made the quickest transition from Gaelic football to Australian football of any of the Irish to come to play at senior level in the AFL.

Of course he went home to play Gaelic football after successful seasons in Australia, before returning last season to the AFL.

This is how I saw Marty's day pan out.
Q1. The match started under rainy conditions after a fine day. Clarke starting on the wing in the number 9 jumper, the record suggested he would start on the back flank. Lining up on Brad Hill. He gets and early mark on half back and chips to the opposite wing. He is following the play up and down the wing but not finding the ball. He makes his own position at the ball ins on the wing and on the back flank, on the defensive side of the ruckman, Hill mans him up at throw ins early. He looks slightly taller and better built than Hill.

Clarke scouts around the packs letting players like Swan and Pedlebury go in for it. He receives a handball on the wing from pack, gets a hurried kick off as Clarke is tackled, the kick is good to the top of the 50 but Collingwood player in front drops mark. Collingwood clean up and kick a goal through Elliot.

Now looking like he is on the back flank, gets into a contest on the boundary 40 out from the Hawks goal and defends taking the ball over the line. Hill goals for the Hawks from a free kick but Clarke can't take the blame for this as he is now not on him, he has switched to the other side of the ground.

He now starts on the wing for the centre bounce on Shiels. Collingwood are up by 4 points and soon add another to be 10 points up.

Clarke is getting to all the main contests on his side of the ground but more a lurker than an in and under type. Clarke goes to bench after Burgoyne goals for the Hawks.

It's raining again now 8 minutes gone and we now see wet weather footy. Clarke comes back on to the ground 10 minutes gone in the quarter.
Running defensively with Burgoyne now at throw ins on the Magpies half back line, then Burgoyne leaves him on his own. He is out the back hoping to receive the ball from his team mates. That ball never comes.

Again the Pies go forward but the Hawks defend and switch, Clarke chases Mitchell hard out of the forward line, but Mitchell marks and clears for the Hawks.

Late in the quarter, a Hawthorn kick is offline for a behind and Clarke takes the kick in, he finds O'Brien short. He works to opposite wing as Collingwood clear the ball. Again the ball is cleared by the Hawks though and the ball eludes him as Hawthorn switch and go around him on wing.

Collingwood are just 5 points up but could be further, if not for bad kicking. Not from Clarke though, he has not threatened the goals. Clarke again comes to the bench. Collingwood move the ball forward once more and Cloke goals for Collingwood.

Clarke comes back on the ground, 50 seconds to go. Back with Hill at the bounce, but he sees no further action for the quarter. Siren sounds. It's raining again Collingwood 3.6 24 to Hawthorn 2.1 13. His stats for the quarter are 2 kicks and one mark and one tackle.

Q2. Clarke starts on the opposite wing this time. It’s a few minutes before he gets near it.

Clarke's 20m straight out from goal ball feeds out from pack, Clarke quickly gets hands over top of defenders to Blair who snaps a goal for Collingwood. Hawthorn quickly answers at the other end through Hale.

AS Hawthorn go forward again he runs hard to get numbers back. At the half back flank he contests with Rioli, and holds him off the contest enough for teammates to clear.

Clarke receives a chipped out kick into the back pocket and chips on himself to a team mate, the mark is taken but then the kick is duffed undoing the previous clean possessions. A minute later he gets a hurried kick from the pack high and long on half back flank. When the ball goes over the line he roves the resulting boundary throw in and gets an ineffective kick forward off ground.

Collingwood goal again, and now lead 36-25. Clarke comes off ground with 8 mins gone in the quarter. Collingwood goal again through Cloke.
Clarke is then back on to the wing after a minute and a half. The sun is now out.

Cloke goals again and the Pies take it out to a 22 points lead.

It seems that the play is all on the opposite side of the ground to Clarke. Now he is running with Breust. Hawthorn kicks a few points and eventually a goal through Jed Anderson.

3 and a half mins to go in the quarter, Clarke bursts though pack and gets a handball out while being tackled. But the Hawks can clean up this time and Franklin kicks his first goal with 2 and a half minutes to go.

1 minute to go Hodge goals and the Pies now lead by just one point. We are at half time and the game is close. Half time score Collingwood 7.6 to Hawthorn 7.5

Clarke’s 2nd quarter stats are three kicks, two handballs, one mark and two tackles.

Q3. The thirds quarter starts with Clarke on the wing with Hill again. Seems to be on the dead side again early in the quarter. Watches alongside Hill for a minute and a half as Haw battle with it in their forward line before they finally kick a goal and take the lead. Now paired with Shiels. Hawks add another through Franklin.

Back with Hill on the wing again where the ball isn't. Hudson manages a quick muscling reply for Collingwood at other end.

Clarke gets a free kick in the middle for being held, he finds Blair at half forward but his kick to the forward line is spoiled. Hawks clear and run the ball forward, after battling on the Hawks goal through Birchall.

Finally in the play now Clarke gets a handball out as he is tackled at the full back position. He starts a successful transition which sees the ball go end to end for Collingwood but Pendlebury muffs the shot for a Collingwood behind. Collingwood 55 to Hawthorn 68.

Clarke comes to bench after 8 mins of play again. Back on the ground the ball is like soap with players struggling to handle it effectively.
Clarke is only off the ground for 90 seconds. Collingwood miss another close one and then Cloke kicks another goal seeing Collingwood just seven points down.

Isaac smith now with Clarke on the wing. Cloke again marks in the forward pocket; Clarke stands just metres away from Cloke as he takes the set shot and hits the post. In what turns out to be the play of the day Guerra's kick in is a long torpedo to Stratton in the middle of the ground, Clarke cannot get back in time and can only watch from behind as Stratton gets it on to Franklin who sends a long kick through an unmanned forward line for a goal.

A minute later Clarke is staying on the defensive side of play on opposite wing to the play. He moves across to the play and gets a handball at halfback, it is effective, but Collingwood can’t clear the ball. Ball comes to Hodge who kicks a big torpedo goal from 55 metres out over Clarke's vain attempt to smother the kick; he is probably a metre too far away.

The game is drifting away from Collingwood, but they get a quick reply through Fasolo who also kicks a long goal running goal. Collingwood are now just two goals down, 69-81. Moments later Cloke marks from a quick clearance and brings them 6 points closer.

Roughead goals for the Hawks after controversial awarding of a free for a ruck infringement over the shoulder.

At the next centre bounce Clarke runs through and gets effective kick off to the forward flank, but the next Collingwood kick is smothered.
Collingwood move the ball forward but it is locked up by Hawthorn. Clarke hangs on the 50m arc to defend a clearance but the ball goes out other side.

A minute later there is a boundary throw in on the wing, this time Clarke gets the tap from the ruck, he kicks it to the half forward flank but again the ball is rebounded. The Hawks get it forward to Franklin and on to Burgoyne who kicks a goal for Hawthorn.

With two and a half minutes to run on the clock for the quarter, Clarke goes to the bench again. He makes it back on for last seconds of the quarter but siren the goes as Breust goals. The Hawks lead by 24 points 11.9 to 15.9. Clarke having 3 kicks and four handballs in that quarter.

Q4.Clarke starts the final quarter off the ground.

Hawthorn take charge of the match as Hill somehow threads the ball through a crowd in the forward line for Franklin to run on and soccer a goal.
Collingwood kick a point with a Dale Thomas miss and Clarke comes back onto the ground 4 minutes into the last quarter. Nathan Brown kicks a long goal for Collingwood from outside the 50. Clarke returns to the wing. The Hawks lead by 23 points.

Gunston the substitute for Hawthorn comes onto the wing for Hawthorn and runs with Clarke, he is taller but perhaps slower than Clarke. He drifts down to the forward line in dead pocket with Clarke following, but Breust goals for Hawthorn in the opposite pocket.

Hawthorn goal through Hill again after some fumbles.

13 minutes gone in the final quarter. Pack at forms at full forward for Collingwood, Clarke gets a quick handball to Pendlebury, who passes to Quentin Lynch and he goals for Collingwood. Collingwood trail by 30 points halfway through the last quarter.

Clarke running with Shiels now. He now smothers a Luke Hodge kick on the forward side of the wing for Hawthorn. Shortly later though he undoes this good work as he gives away a free kick to Birchall for holding on after he got rid of it. Birchall's pass to Roughead is good and he scores a goal from 50m out.

Clarke stays on wing still running with Gunston. He drops back to fill hole on Burgoyne then Breust who runs him to the goal square. Clarke takes the ball off pack and gets a quick handball to Blair but his handball is bad and after Franklin gets it, makes its way to Puopolo who goals for the Hawks.

Minutes later from a boundary throw in, Hudson tries to find Clarke who is unmanned but loses tap, Clarke can’t smother clearance from a Hawthorn midfielder who clears it.

Lewis goals from 48m out set shot for the Hawks.

Clarke marks from the kick out at 50, then his kick is smothered and ultimately there is a throw in. He battles for the throw in on ground and Collingwood win it out but only as far as the Hawthorn wall, they send the ball back in and score a behind.

Clarke runs hard down dead side of ground full length but can only make up numbers. The Hawks clear again and goal through Burgoyne. Clarke looks tired and comes to the bench with 4m to go. Hawks up by 56 points.

Clarke doesn't return to the ground, but there was not a lot to return for as the Pies add two more final behinds.

Final Score Haw 22.13.145 to Collingwood 13.12 90.

Clarke’s final math stats are 18 disposals, 11 kicks, 7 handballs, 3 marks and 4 tackles (and 70 Dreamteam points if you are into that sort of thing).

In summary Collingwood do not seem to look to use Clarke on the wing. He seemed today to be on the side that had least of the play in most quarters and when it was there he was not the link up man. That may have just been coincidental on this day; it is also possible these are his instructions.

He ran hard most of the day and did not appear to tire late in the day. He made good position and found himself unchecked around packs and throw ins but again was not used much by his team mates. Marty's kicking and handballing skills are good to very good for the most part, but Hawthorn's pressure on the ball carrier made disposals hard work for Clarke and his team mates throughout the day.

There is no doubt that Marty is a very capable footballer but on today's performance did not appear to offer anything above average or special to the Collingwood side, which will make him vulnerable when it comes to selection. And if this game is representative of his season he may be one the list managers have a close look at towards the end of the season.

Collingwood look like they will probably finish in the finals again this year though and we suspect that Clarke will continue to improve as the year goes on and we will hopefully see some more dynamic football from him than I saw today.
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Marty Clarke vs Hawthorn | 1 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Marty Clarke vs Hawthorn
Authored by: Brett Northey on Wednesday, April 17 2013 @ 07:10 am ACST

Interesting thoughts.  The feeling was that he would be a star in Ireland and I remember some interviews with him a few years ago where the bottom line really was that he wanted to really star, be a gun player be it Gaelic or in the AFL.  The fact that he wasn't taking that next step in the AFL contributed to his return home.

Now that he's back it looks to me that he's destined to be a serviceable player but he still seems unable to dominate games and be a real star.  Which is all very understandable given he didn't grow up with the game.

Toohey (Carlton) and Hanley (Brisbane) look more likely to become dominant players.

Speaking of the Irish players, I'd hope Setanta is in line for a recall to GWS Giants this week with Brogan suspended and Patton injured.  Setanta kicked 5 last week for the UWS Giants (the GWS Giants reserves side that play in the NEAFL) and 3 the week before.

Hopefully we'll be having a similar conversation about Oceania players in 5 years time.

Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN