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Clarke's level head

BTV: RD 9 | Dylan Clarke's debut We caught up with Dylan Clarke after his first game for the Bombers.

When Dylan Clarke ran onto the MCG for his first AFL match on Saturday, he knew he would be lining up on some of the competition’s greatest players.

But he wasn’t going to be overwhelmed by the occasion, because he knew he had a united team behind him.

By the end of the match, he’d been a part of a sensational Essendon victory over premiership fancy Geelong.

“It was an unreal experience just to play with this group of boys, the way they looked after me and kind of took me under all their wings, it was incredible,” Clarke said post-match.

“And to get the win as well, I loved every minute of it.”

While he admitted it was a great experience to line up on Patrick Dangerfield, Joel Selwood and Gary Ablett, Clarke kept a steady head to become an important cog in the Bombers’ midfield that took it up to its star-studded opposition.

“I guess the message throughout week was (to) not be in awe of them, they’re just the competition, so I tried just to play my game against theirs,” he said.

“But obviously it was pretty special to play against some of the best mids in the game.”

Essendon was relentless with its pressure and speed in the 34-point win, tallying 91 tackles for the second week on the trot and finding endless space throughout the contest.

Clarke said that was an aim for the side heading into the match off the back of a difficult period on and off the field.

“I think the energy around the group throughout the week is that we know our best footy can compete with the best, but we just weren’t sustaining it for a four-quarter effort,” Clarke said.

“But I felt like for the most part of that game we did really well in terms of our ruthlessness in the contest and just transitioning back.

“I think pressure and transition was our real focal point for the midfielders, just because we could help the backs with the pressure on the ball and make their life a lot easier.”

While his brother Ryan couldn’t be at the special occasion as he took part in North Melbourne’s victory over GWS in Hobart, Clarke was thrilled to have a large contingent of supporters at the game.

“It was great to have Mum and Dad, my aunty and my cousin. Too bad my brother couldn’t be here as well, but just to have their support I really appreciated it.

“I’ve got a few of my school mates back here and some that I grew up with and it was great to have them here as well and to share the win with them was pretty awesome.”

All Essendon guernseys worn by the Bombers in the Country Game can be purchase by auction HERE.