SUNBURY premiership hero Simon Clarke has made a surprise return to Clarke Oval.
Just months after waving goodbye and shifting to amateurs club St Bernard’s, Clarke is back in the BFL.
Sunbury coach Rick Horwood said Clarke, who was cleared by the Lions to the Snowdogs, has put in a clearance to go back, and that the VAFA premier division club had agreed to honour it.
“He made his original decision (to leave Sunbury) based on future employment but since starting to train at St Bernard’s, he missed our club and his mates,” Horwood said.
“It was very hard for him to walk away from what we’ve worked on together as a club.
“It takes a very big person to admit they have made a wrong decision. He asked St Bernard’s to release him and we’ve welcomed him back with open arms.”
Horwood said St Bernard’s had indicated it would not stand in the way of Clarke’s return.
“They are thinking of the player’s welfare. It shows they are a quality club putting the player’s wishes before the club,” he said.
With Clarke’s decision to stay, Sunbury had managed to re-sign its entire senior playing list.
“It means we’ve retained 25 of the 25 blokes who we named in the 22 that played in the grand final last year plus the three emergencies,” Horwood said.
“How many premiership sides can claim that?”
In addition the eastern Lions had picked up former Coburg VFL player Andrew Duhua and ex-Calder Cannon Jack Sheahan. Sheahan is on the Bendigo Gold VFL list but has nominated Sunbury as second club.