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The Big Rooster brings Aussie Rules football to Myanmar

  • Saturday, October 18 2014 @ 09:19 am ACDT
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The following article by Thomas Kean appeared in the Myanmar Times in September during the lead up to the Asian Championships in 2014. The work of Julian Clark has become legendary throughout Asia, and elsewhere, and this story examines his background and influence on the game, as well as his latest achievement – bringing the game to the nation of Myanmar.

 

“This is my advertisement, mate,” says Julian Clark. He tugs at his Cambodia Eagles polo shirt with one hand, a mug of cold beer recently poured from the tap at Savoy Hotel’s Captain’s Bar in the other. “My job is to use this to recruit people.”

 

 

Julian “Big Rooster” Clark, a veteran of 20 Australian Rules football seasons as an expat, has made something of a career out of nurturing new teams wherever his work as an engineer has taken him. 

 

Well, not his day job. But Julian “Big Rooster” Clark, a veteran of 20 Australian Rules football seasons as an expat, has made something of a career out of nurturing new teams wherever his work as an engineer has taken him. He left Australia for Singapore in the mid-1990s, when the tail end of a recession meant there were few jobs at home for graduates and, football in hand, has rarely looked back.

 

Fittingly, it was a chance meeting at the Australian embassy in Malaysia while watching the 1995 Carlton-Geelong Grand Final that first got him out onto the field. A man behind the bar was wearing a Malaysian Tigers (now known as the Malaysian Warriors) shirt, and explained the team was playing a couple of weeks later. Clark had no hesitation in pulling on the boots.

 

“From then on I was hooked,” he told The Myanmar Times in a recent interview. “The meeting dictated my dress code from that point on ... in the hope that just one bloke in a pub seeing [my polo shirt] might result in another player [for the team].”

 

After starting out with Southeast Asian sides, he helped established the first Australian football teams in Finland (Lions, now Icebreakers), Dusseldorf (Lions, now Rheinland Lions) and China (Blues, now Reds).

 

November 2013 saw him bring the oval-ball game to Myanmar for the first time, overseeing the creation of a national team, the Fighting Cocks. When Clark ran out with the rest of the Fighting Cocks to play the Thailand Tigers at Pun Hlaing in May for the team’s inaugural game, he was representing his 24th national team – surely a record in a football code that has a limited following outside Australia. The list of Clark’s former sides includes giants of the sport like the Austrian Dingoes, Pakistan Markhors and Belgium Saints.

 

 

To read the rest of this story, click on the following link which will take you to the Myanmar Times story: http://www.mmtimes.com/index.php/sports/11662-the-big-rooster-brings-aussie-rules-football-to-myanmar.html

 

 

Left: Julian Clark's Myanmar team in action