Fremantle ruckman Zac Clarke does not want to be considered trade bait in any potential deal to bring Brisbane’s Mitch Clark back home to WA and is determined to force a formidable Dockers union with teammate Aaron Sandilands.

Clarke said he felt indebted to Fremantle for providing his football lifeline and was anxious to repay the club by continuing his sharp improvement.

The Dockers contracted him until the end of 2013 to take him beyond the reach of Greater Western Sydney and Gold Coast recruiting concessions.

But Brisbane, who are yet to re-sign Clark, have shown interest.

Clarke said he was committed to Fremantle and did not want to entertain any thoughts of moving.

“I’m more than happy at Freo at the moment,” Clarke said.

“They give you first crack at it so you want to repay them and I’m enjoying my time in Perth, so I wouldn’t be looking to move.”

Clarke lived with Sandilands after being drafted in 2008 and then later moved in with his giant teammate’s parents. The Dockers’ powerhouse has had a vast influence on the early part of Clarke’s career.

The 21-year-old said that while former Fremantle ruckman Robert Warnock moved to Carlton at the end of 2008 for greater opportunities, he had no doubt he could team with Sandilands to form a powerful force similar to West Coast’s Dean Cox and Nic Naitanui.

“Aaron is a dominant ruckman but he needs someone who can ruck with him as well and not just be a pinch-hitter. I’m versatile, I think we work well together and we’ll only continue to get better.

“I was a bit worried at the start of the year with the sub rule that maybe it wouldn’t happen, but Cox and Naitanui have shown it can.”

Clarke said a career-high 26 possessions for East Perth against Perth in the WAFL this year, opposed to former West Coast and Western Bulldogs big man Andrew McDougall, had boosted his confidence.

He now was keen to get another pre-season under his belt after taking a brief holiday with his East Perth teammates to Bali.

“It was obviously good to string a few games together in the second half of the year,” he said.

“I was injured in the first bit of the year, but I came back to the WAFL pretty confident and in that game (against Perth) it seemed pretty natural. This year as a team has been disappointing, but while it’s been disappointing I’ve enjoyed my footy.”

 

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