All debuts are special, but for Oscar Clavarino, 1283 days of waiting will make his upcoming debut for St Kilda against North Melbourne one to savor.
The young defender was drafted alongside top ten picks and fellow teammates Hunter Clark and Nick Coffield but has not been able to get his chance due to unforeseen circumstances, including several injuries.
Coach Brett Ratten spoke about Clavarino’s journey, which has seen him fight back from numerous setbacks over his four years at the club.
“It’s a great story of persistence,” Ratten said.
“In my first year, [at the club] he had an ankle injury that put him out for two-thirds of the year, which made it difficult.
“And then last year, we had a hub scenario with limited development.
“But he’s been one who’s been knocking the door down at VFL level.
“[He’s] played some really good football, can mark the ball back there.
“He’s 195cm, he’s a tall defender who can really assist in the air.”
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Ratten spoke about how the inclusion of Clavarino may assist the morale of the team going into Saturday’s game.
“It’s pretty exciting to see him, he’s been crying out for this opportunity,” he said.
“And to get him into the team, it’s a good boost of energy.
“He’s very liked and loved around the place.”
The Saints need a good boost of energy after the massive loss to the Western Bulldogs last Saturday.
Ratten spoke about what they will need to combat coming up against North if they want to return to the winners list.
“They move the ball through the corridor, and we know what they do around the clearances,” Ratten said.
“They’re quite dynamic around the clearances, but Cunnington’s work to get the ball, and Simpkin and Thomas’s ability to feed off of Goldstein and Campbell, who’s in pretty good form as well.”
“The clearances will be pretty important, but it’ll be making sure they don’t bring the ball through the corridor, they’ll wanna go there, we know that.
“But that’ll be part of the game as well, when we use the corridor.”
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