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North's Clarke earns AFL Rising Star nod

AAP logoAAP 25/07/2016

North Melbourne's AFL injury crisis has proved a massive opportunity for teenaged midfielder Ryan Clarke.

The 19-year-old is the latest Rising Star nominee after he had 27 possessions in Friday night's win over Collingwood.

That broke North's five-game losing streak, a run marked by a succession of injuries.

Nick Dal Santo was a late withdrawal from the round-16 match against West Coast because of illness and Clarke took his place.

Clarke had 21 disposals against the Eagles, 22 the following week against Port Adelaide and he impressed again in the Collingwood win.

His fourth match will be Brent Harvey's 427th, setting the AFL all-time record.

"He's been outstanding in his first three games," Harvey said.

"Corey Wagner has come in and played four or five games as well.

"It's good to (blood) some of these young guys and give them some senior experience ... that makes us a lot better."

Coach Brad Scott praised Clarke for his elite running.

"Clarkey has been an outstanding contributor and has certainly made an impact in his three games," Scott said.

North recruited Clarke with the second-round pick No.31 in last November's national draft.

Scott said Clarke had been a standout for Werribee in the VFL through the first half of the season.

"He's a true professional and its been exciting to see his development at the club since he was drafted," Scott said.

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