FORMER Fremantle ruckman Zac Clarke has confirmed he will become a Bomber in the AFL's new pre-season supplemental selection period.
AFL.com.au reported a fortnight ago that Clarke qualified under the new rookie rules and would join Essendon in the signing period between December 1 and March 15.
The Bombers confirmed Clarke's arrival on Saturday morning.
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Previously listed AFL footballers no longer have to nominate for the drafts and can instead opt to sign with a club of their choice in the pre-season supplemental selection period (SPP).
Shane Mumford (Greater Western Sydney), Maverick Weller (Richmond), Keegan Brooksby (West Coast) and Corey Wagner (Melbourne) have committed to teams under the same rule.
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The only players restricted are those who retire or delist themselves. They must be out of the AFL for at least one season in those cases before joining a club in the SPP.
Clarke, 28, told the AFL Players' Association website that he and his manager were intent on returning to the AFL via the SPP once they found out about the rule.
"As it turned out, Essendon presented and that's how I landed there," he said.
"I won't be the oldest at the club, but being 29 next year, I'll be in the older bracket.
"I'll work with the younger players in a mentoring role and hopefully help to fast track their development.
"After I was delisted with Fremantle, I mapped out where I wanted to go in my career, but with the opportunity Essendon has presented, I'm ready to start the next chapter of my AFL journey."
Clarke played 101 games and kicked 46 goals for the Dockers between 2009 and 2017 before being delisted after related complications to surgeries on his left knee ruined his last year there.
The 203cm big man had serious interest from at least two other clubs, both of which he had either undergone a medical for or had organised to.
The Bombers preferred Clarke over ex-Bulldog Tom Campbell, who also completed a medical at Tullamarine before signing with North Melbourne.
Essendon entered the mature-age ruck market after Matthew Leuenberger decided to retire at season's end despite having a one-year offer in front of him.
Clarke gives the Bombers an experienced back-up to Tom Bellchambers and allows 20-year-old Sam Draper to continue his development in the VFL without as much pressure to perform.
His starring role in Subiaco's WAFL premiership helped revive his AFL aspirations.
Clarke made 20 appearances and kicked 28 goals in 2018, while averaging 15.7 disposals, 4.6 marks and 39 hit-outs.
He had at least 50 hit-outs in his last three games, including the Lions' Grand Final triumph over West Perth, and managed the feat twice more before that.