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Ryan Clarke's burning ambition

Angelo Campagna  September 1, 2017 9:59 AM

PRESS PLAY above to watch the Ryan Clarke feature.

Ryan Clarke is out to prove a point.

As he contemplates his third season, the North young gun wants to turn his potential into success – but knows how hard he has to work for it.

“I’ll try to get the most out of myself, and just try to keep pushing myself,” he told NMFC.com.au.

“I’m pretty much going to work on everything. Tackling, contested ball, my two-way running defensively as a midfielder and then also disposal.”

Having played 15 games in 2017 - taking his career total to 21 - Clarke is determined to make a bigger impact on the competition.

“This pre-season will be pretty big for me," he stated.

“There is still a big focus on defensive pressure, especially as a midfielder, and I’ll hopefully put some size on and be able to compete with the bigger boys.”

The hard-running midfielder has taken his game to another level this season, happily taking on the challenge of playing as an outside midfielder and spending time as a defender.

“I thought I learned a lot this year,” Clarke said.

“I had never played in the backline in my life, but I really want to be reliable anywhere on the ground.  It’s good to add another string to my bow and be able to push back if need be.”

A stint out of the side due to a form slump spurred the 20-year-old on and served as a reminder of the opportunity in front of him and the constant danger of falling out of favour.

“After getting dropped, I was pretty eager to knuckle down and have a good last run in the season,” he continued.

“When I got dropped in Round 17, I said ‘I just want to take the next opportunity and go into games with confidence and try to play really well’.

“I went back to the twos [VFL] and got my confidence back there.  I came back and he [Brad Scott] was happy with my last six or seven games.

In his last six appearances, Clarke averaged 26 disposals, 11 kicks, 7 kicks, 14 handballs and 3 rebound 50s a game, although the young gun admits it was starting to take its toll.

“I’m only in my second year, and the last couple of weeks I was really feeling it,” Clarke admitted.

“I honestly don’t know how Boomer [Brent Harvey] went for that many years.”

While Clarke has plenty of goals, the first on his list is clear.

“I didn’t play Round 1 this year, so that’ll be my aim.  Going into preseason, it’s about Round 1 ... I want to solidify my spot.”