Richmond has finalised its coaching panel with the appointment of current NT Thunder senior coach and former St Kilda and Brisbane Lions utility, Xavier Clarke joining the ranks as a development coach.
Clarke, 33, has been coaching NEAFL club NT Thunder since the end of 2013, he won the NEAFL Coach of the Year in 2014, led the side to the premiership in 2015, and, in 2016, he was awarded the NT Sports Awards Coach of the Year.
The lively utility began his AFL career at St Kilda, where we was selected with pick No. 5 in the 2001 National AFL Draft.
He went on to play 105 senior games for the Saints from 2002-09, before joining Brisbane in 2010.
Following two knee reconstructions in the space of two-and-a-half years, injury forced him into retirement at the end of the 2011 season, aged 28.
Clarke’s CV is both long and diverse, following his retirement playing league football, he worked with the AFL Players’ Association in Indigenous engagement, and with the AFL as the National Indigenous Programs Coordinator, managing Indigenous talent pathway programs such as Kickstart and Dreamtime at the ‘G.
Clarke is also an AFL Level 3 accredited coach and sits on the AFL Indigenous Advisory Group and AFL Women’s Football Advisory Group.
He has some experience with Richmond already, in 2013 he was an assistant coach for the Korin Gamadji Institute’s Laguntas Program – a football talent pathway for Indigenous boys aged 16 to 19 years old.
“Xavier has a broad and diverse experience, in both coaching and football programming, and we’re really excited with what he’ll bring to our football Club,” Richmond’s General Manager – Football, Neil Balme said.
“His experience with the AFL’s Indigenous pathway programs, and the responsibility of coaching his own team with NT Thunder has provided him opportunities to develop and lead emerging footballers, and we’re looking forward to him bringing those skills and experience to Richmond.
“In addition to that, his knowledge and expertise in Indigenous engagement will support the extensive programming that our Club and the Korin Gamadji Institute already deliver, including the Richmond Academy – our Next Generation Academy Program.”
AFLNT CEO Michael Solomon said AFLNT and NT Thunder could not be prouder of Clarke and his achievements so far.
“We are thrilled that Xavier has been selected for a coaching position at Richmond and we are confident that he will deliver in his new role with the same professionalism, tenacity and integrity that he showed at NT Thunder. He is a favourite son of the Territory and we look forward to rejoicing in his future success and welcoming him back whenever he visits.”
Clarke will join other new recent coaching appointees, Blake Caracella and Justin Leppitsch at the Tigers.
In finalising the Club’s coaching structure, Andrew McQualter, a current development coach at Richmond, and former St Kilda teammate of Clarke, will assume the role of AFL midfield stoppage coach.
“It’s clear that Andrew has really developed his coaching craft in the past three seasons at Richmond, he has great relationships with the players, coaches and staff at the Club, and we look forward to him continuing to support Damien and the players in 2017 and beyond,” Balme said.