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Finals footy driving Roos' Rising Star nominee

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Ryan Clarke, I can't think of too many players who have come in and had over 70 possessions in their first three games
Kangaroos coach Brad Scott

THE PROSPECT of playing finals in his first season is a driving factor for North Melbourne youngster Ryan Clarke, as he seeks to cement his spot in Brad Scott's seemingly finals-bound side.

The Kangaroos midfielder played a key role in his team's 40-point win against Collingwood on Friday night, gathering 27 disposals to go with three goal assists as North broke its run of five consecutive losses.

Clarke's performance has been rewarded with the round 18 NAB AFL Rising Star nomination.

The eighth-placed Kangaroos would go a long way to bolstering their finals hopes with a win against St Kilda, in Brent Harvey's record-breaking 427th game this week.

"Every footballer wants to be part of finals football so if I was able to get that opportunity and we make the eight it would be a great experience," Clarke told

"Finals footy is the benchmark so if I can play in that then hopefully that gives me a lot of confidence for the next couple of years."

• Vote for 2016's winner at the NAB AFL Rising Star hub

Clarke, pick No.31 in the 2015 NAB AFL Draft, has gone from strength to strength since making his AFL debut against West Coast in round 16.

Clarke has racked up 21 disposals, 22 and now 27 in his first three games for the Roos and earned big plaudits from coach Brad Scott after the game on Friday night.

"Ryan Clarke, I can't think of too many players who have come in and had over 70 possessions in their first three games," Scott said.

"I think he's one of the brightest young players in the competition."

Clarke noted the support of teammates and leaders Jack Ziebell and Ben Cunnington for helping to fast track his development.

"They're the two that stand out in taking me under their wing and they've really helped me out," Clarke said.

"They've gone out of their way to sit through my meetings and watch vision with me so I'm really grateful for that."

Clarke's younger brother Dylan is likely to be drafted at the end of the season after an impressive Under-18 Championships for Vic Metro and for the Eastern Ranges in the TAC Cup.

Ryan said he was only too happy to pass along advice to his younger brother if he felt like he needed it.

"I speak to him fairly often. I usually go home once a week and we generally talk about footy," Clarke said.

"He's often asking me what it's like and how I went about things last year, but he's been in good form and he's probably in a better position than I was last year so he doesn't need too much of it."