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Fantasy 101

Fantasy Flashbacks – Round 10

Learn all about David Clarke.

For many of us, AFL football wouldn’t be the same without fantasy footy. Yet believe it or not, there was a time when fans didn’t spend hours obsessing over player stats, role changes and the like, in pursuit of fantasy glory in whatever their preferred format might be.

However, just because fantasy footy didn’t exist, doesn’t mean we can’t take a look back in time to see how some of the players from the past, would of performed in fantasy football if it did exist when they took to the field.

In each week of the 2021 season, we’ll delve into historical statistics to find a player of the past who would’ve excelled from a fantasy perspective in the corresponding round of football, and that player will be named our Fantasy Flashback ‘Player of the Round’.

In Round 10 of the 1980 season, Geelong took on Fitzroy at Kardinia Park in a game the Cats were expected to win fairly easily, despite being comfortably beaten by Collingwood the previous week.  Although the game was closer than most expected, Geelong were able to get over the line by 15 points due largely to the efforts of David Clarke. Clarke gathered 39 disposals and took 16 marks in a dominant performance which would have given him 166 fantasy points and earns him the Fantasy Flashback’s Player of the Round for Round 10.

Arguably better known to the general public due to his involvement in the Pyramid Building Society collapse 30 odd years ago, Clarke made his debut for the Cats in 1971 as a half forward flanker, winning the club’s Best and Fairest award in his first season and would have produced a fairly solid 82.2 average.

However, Clarke would have had fantasy coaches standing up and taking notice the following season, kicking 55 goals from a half forward flank which would have given him a fantasy average of 103 points in only his second year of senior football. In the 1973 season, Clarke would have lifted his fantasy average to 104.2 points, which would have been his final year of averaging 100 points plus.

A fantasy average of 87.2 would have followed in 1974, before Clarke would have become pretty much fantasy irrelevant with averages of 74 and 73.2 in the following two seasons, before a switch to the midfield in 1978 saw him earn his second best and fairest and his average would have risen to a pretty solid 86.5. Another 86 average season and another best and fairest award would have followed in 1979 and in 1980, Clarke’s fantasy average would have risen to a very respectable 97.6 points.

In his final season at Geelong, Clarke would have once again become fantasy irrelevant with a very ordinary 67-point average, before moving to Carlton in the final year of his career where he would have produced the worse fantasy average of his career – 52.9.

While David Clarke may not be the household name like previous recipients of Fantasy Flashback’s Player of the Round, he was a very solid player over his 211 games of VFL football. In his 10 seasons at Geelong, he won three Best and Fairest awards and was runner up a further three times, which is a pretty remarkable achievement. As is averaging over 100 fantasy points from a half forward flank, which Clarke achieved twice. Although apart from those two 100 plus seasons Clarke would not have been the most popular fantasy player going around, his 166-point effort against the Lions in Round 10 of the 1980 season makes him a worthy recipient of our Player of the Round.

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