Roosters Have The X Factor

By Ryan Leaver

Xavier Clarke comes from some illustrious company, being selected by St. Kilda at pick no. 5 in the 2001 AFL ‘super draft’. A draft which included Chris Judd, Luke Hodge, Jimmy Bartel, Gary Ablett and Dane Swan. Two years after his AFL career was cut-short due to injuries, Xavier is excited to be at West Preston Lakeside Football Club. West has secured Xavier for this season and both parties couldn’t be happier.

Clarke said that many things drew him towards West Preston over other clubs, including the tight-knit and also multi-cultural feel of the club, which he realised after just one visit. Another large factor in Clarke joining the club was good friend Ali Fahour. After back and forth jokes between the two, of Clarke coming to play at West Preston, he thought he would look into it and after checking things out, decided to play for West.

A skilful and poised midfielder, Clarke is looking forward to having a good season, whilst enjoying his footy at West. He is also excited about teaming up with the young midfield group which he has heard great things about. With 106 AFL games under his belt Clarke hopes he can bring some experience and leadership to West and “hopefully touch the footy a few times” as well.

Last season Clarke played every game for Avondale Heights and has also being playing in Darwin every couple of weeks over the summer. Since retiring from league footy, Clarke has kept his body in much better shape and is hoping to play every game for West and hopefully “play some finals footy”.

Outside of football, Clarke is very passionate about and committed to his work with indigenous youth, co-founding the Unity Foundation. The Unity Foundation in particular worked with disadvantaged indigenous youth, often conducting school-based activities around healthy living and also choices and consequences. Unfortunately due to the financial crisis they couldn’t sustain the program and handed their work over to the Lighthouse Foundation who Xavier said “continue to do good work”. Clarke is now the AFL Indigenous Coordinator, working under friend and West Preston team-mate, Ali Fahour. Clarke has coordinated a trip for the Flying Boomerang squad, a team made up of young indigenous players, to South Africa in early February. The team has travelled to South Africa, Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Fiji in recent years.

Whilst Xavier is passionate about footy and community work, his family comes first. Xavier is often in Darwin, spending time catching up with family and friends and taking his dogs pig hunting. Xavier’s brother Raphael recently signed for St Albans in the Geelong League, and whilst Xavier is happy for his brother he also looks forward to one day being able to put the same jumper on as him and having a kick.

Xavier is very much looking forward to getting down to preseason training with new coach Frank Raso and helping to kick-start what West Preston Lakeside expect to be a very successful season. In Xavier’s encounters with coaches, players and members of the club, he has left a very good impression and everyone involved in the club should be looking forward to the season ahead.


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