Malthouse raps Collingwood rookie Clarke - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Malthouse raps Collingwood rookie Clarke

By Tom Wald 24/06/2007 12:04:10 AM Comments (0)

Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse rates Irishman Marty Clarke as a "big-time player" following his outstanding AFL debut in the Magpies' convincing 19-point win over Sydney.

The teenage defender was his side's second highest possession earner on the night, collecting 20 touches in the 10.16 (76) to 9.8 (57) win at Telstra Stadium.

Two-time premiership coach Malthouse wasn't surprised at how well the Gaelic footballer handled himself, having only played some 14 matches of Australian Rules before the Swans clash.

"No, he is a big time player and I think we get caught up in our own game," said Malthouse.

"I think we really under estimate what life is on the other side of the planet. He comes from a very big, fiercely contested, competition, of which, if he was not a superstar, (he was) a very good player.

"He has played before 50,000 and 60,000 at Croke Park so I would hardly think we panicked about whether he was playing for Collingwood against Sydney in Sydney.

"He has had a level head about him the whole time and he believed he belonged well before I put him in the side."

Clarke said his parents had watched the game back in Ireland because all Swans matches are screened live into the Emerald Isle because of Sydney's premiership-winning player Tadhg Kennelly.

Kennelly, the first Irishman to win an AFL flag in 2005, was out injured for the clash but Clarke showed there was plenty more talent flowing out of the island nation.

"I just briefly spoke to them. I think they rung one of the coaches. I couldn't hear much, there was a lot of shouting going on and stuff," Clarke said.

"I think they were pretty excited so I will give them a ring when I get back to the hotel.

"I think they might of got together at a local pub in the early hours. I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did."

Clarke joins a growing list of Irishmen in the AFL with Setanta O'hAilpin at Carlton and Colm Begley in Brisbane.

He felt there would be plenty more clubs tapping into Irish talent in the future.

"Some clubs have nothing to lose having an Irish player on your rookie list. There might be teams having a look in Ireland in the next few months, there is a possibility of that," he said.

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