It was with much sadness that all involved with the Melbourne Football Club heard of the recent passing of Noel Clarke, Melbourne premiership player and Tasmanian footballing legend.
Originally from North Launceston, Noel Clarke played 77 games and kicked 155 goals for Melbourne between 1951 and 1955, wearing No. 26 throughout.
After Melbourne overcame transfer wrangles to secure him, Clarke’s first game was against Carlton in Round Six, 1951. He had a great debut – including two goals – in what was Melbourne’s only win for the season.
In 1952 and 1954, Clarke led the Demons’ goal scoring; particularly remarkable when it is considered that he played his entire career with a serious knee injury.
Experiencing patchy form and injury in 1955, and not confident of his selection, Clarke decided to head to the pictures as the teams for the Grand Final were being named. He emerged to find that he was part of the Melbourne side that went on to defeat Collingwood by 28 points, with Clarke scoring three goals of the Demons’ eight.
Aged just 25, and with a premiership to his credit, Clarke decided to retire and head home. In Tasmania, he continued to forge a legendary status. He was instrumental at both North Hobart and New Norfolk, and would later be named as an Inductee in the Tasmanian Football Hall of Fame. He was also named as a ‘Hero’ for Melbourne’s 150th celebrations in 2008.
We shall all remember Noel Clarke for his part in the Melbourne Football Club’s story, and offer our deepest condolences to his family and friends.