ZAC CLARKE believes there is room for him and Essendon's No.1 ruckman Tom Bellchambers in the same team, saying they both have the attributes to have an impact while resting in attack.
Clarke joined the Bombers last Saturday as a rookie in the inaugural pre-season supplemental selection period.
The Victorian played 101 games for Fremantle from 2009-16 before left knee problems sidelined him for the entire 2017 season, at the end of which the Dockers delisted him.
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The 203cm ruckman resurrected his career with Subiaco in the WAFL this year, playing every game and averaging 15.7 disposals and 39 hit-outs.
Clarke was a key member in the Lions' 2018 premiership, starring in the Grand Final victory over East Fremantle with 17 disposals, 50 hit-outs and a goal, while he also had an impressive year pinch-hitting in attack, finishing the season with 28 goals.
At 28, Clarke is "really excited" to be back in the AFL system and can't wait to repay the faith Essendon has shown him.
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He hopes he can do so alongside Bellchambers.
"I've seen Tom play quite well forward as well, he takes a good mark," Clarke said at Essendon's annual family day at the Melbourne Showgrounds on Saturday.
"But he had a really strong season this year, so it's obviously his spot and if I have to play second ruck or whatever role that is I'm happy to do that.
"One of my focus areas at Subi was being able to go forward and impact on the scoreboard, which I think I did, so I'll back myself in to be able to do that."
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Clarke says his left knee is fully recovered from the patella fractures that required two separate operations after the 2016 season.
"It hasn't been an issue for a while. Obviously I had a few setbacks late 2016, early 2017, but I had that full year to really get it right in 2017 and then didn't miss a game this year with Subi," he said.
"So it's kind of a non-issue now. I was really confident that if my body held up that my best football is capable of AFL level and that's the way it went."
Clarke spoke to "a couple of other clubs" – North Melbourne is understood to have been one of them – before opting to restart his AFL career at Essendon, saying he felt the Bombers were "the best fit".
After arriving in Melbourne last Sunday, the ruckman has moved in with new teammate Joe Daniher, but will start hunting for a home of his own after Christmas.
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Clarke, who grew up in Box Hill, is looking forward to spending more time with his family and friends after living in Perth for the past 10 years.
He is looking forward to next season just as much, but has been in the system long enough to know he first has to get through a long summer on the training track.
"That's what I'm here for," Clarke said, when asked if he hoped to push for a senior spot early in 2018.
"But right now my aim is to get through the pre-season. I've done three sessions so far and I really just need to put in a really good solid block of work and go from there."