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Xavier Clarke remains ambitious for senior coaching role

Jackson Clark -

New North Melbourne assistant coach Xavier Clarke still harbours ambitions to be a senior AFL coach one day.

Clarke joined the Kangaroos at the end of last season after unsuccessfully interviewing for Richmond's vacant coaching position, which was ultimately won by Adem Yze.

But the former St Kilda and Brisbane player said that there is 'no doubt' coaching an AFL team remains an aspiration of his.

"Like any job, you want to continue to improve and get to as high as you can," Clarke told the media last week.

"I'm in no rush, I'm enjoying my time being an assistant and continuing to develop my pathway.

"Hopefully when the time does come, I am ready for that and I will certainly put my hand up at some point in time."

Last year he interviewed and was shortlisted as a candidate for the Richmond coaching position, which was vacated by Damien Hardwick.

Despite being unsuccessful, the Larrakia and Amrreamo/Marritjavin man said that he learnt a lot from going through the process.

Xavier Clarke held a variety of coaching positions at Richmond. (Image: Richmond FC)

"I learnt a lot personally – where my gaps are and where I need to improve, it was a great process to go through.

"The reality is you're going for the biggest job interview of your life.

"You want to do the best you possibly can, you prepare hours on end for what that looks like and you don't really know what is going to come across the table in terms of questions.

"(It was) pretty daunting obviously, but it was really good for me to be able to do that and land where I am now, personally, I think it has made me a better coach."

Clarke spent a decade in the AFL as a player in what was an injury-plagued career with both the Saints and Lions.

He began his coaching career with the now disbanded NT Thunder in the NEAFL competition before joining the Tigers as a development coach in 2016.

The Territorian held a variety of roles at Richmond throughout the club's successful premiership years and was most recently the club's forward-line coach.

He said that he is enjoying his time at the Kangaroos and working under former Hawthorn triple-premiership coach Alastair Clarkson.

"Yeah it's been good, it's been a nice little change up after eight years at another club," Clarke said.

"With that it comes with a young group who really want to improve and it's been great to see them build through hard work in the pre-season.

"The whole club in general is in a really good spot, a great board, great support staff, really good leaders around the football club.

"I think we're on that upward trend and the players are really buying into that."


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