Former Essendon midfielder Dylan Clarke and a pair of former Gold Coast players will join a host of fellow ex-AFL talent in 2023 after signing with VFL outfit Port Melbourne for next year.
The Borough have locked away the services of Sam Naismith, Tom Hird, Will Martyn and Fraser Rosman for their next campaign, with Clarke among the latest former top-flight footballers heading to North Port Oval.
Clarke departed Essendon at the end of the 2021 season after 24 games in five years with the Bombers, with the club opting against offering the 24-year-old a deal for this year.
The onballer would venture to South Australia in 2022, plying his trade with SANFL side Woodville-West Torrens, where he would play 18 games and average 23.6 disposals, 7.7 tackles and 4.4 clearances per outing.
On Wednesday, Port Melbourne confirmed the addition of Clarke, who will add a much-needed level of grunt to their engine room in 2023.
“Dylan is a hard running inside midfielder who has a great ability to read the game and uses the ball really well," Port Melbourne football manager Glenn Balmforth said in a club statement.
"To have somebody of Dylan's character wanting to join our environment is very pleasing and we are looking forward to him joining the group and getting started."
Clarke played three VFL matches for Essendon in 2021, collecting 27, 26 and 31 possessions in each of his matches for the Bombers; reserves.
The Borough have also signed former Suns pair Joel Wilkinson and Mitch Riordan from 2023, adding to their stellar off-season signing spree.
Wilkinson played 26 games for Gold Coast as a member of their inaugural squad, while Riordan did not feature for the Suns at AFL level.
"Joel is a genuine athlete who has a hunger and drive to achieve both individual and team success with his transition back to Australian Rules Football," Balmforth said.
"Mitch has elite traits, particularly by hand and his ability to break out of stoppages. He has great knowledge of the game and will compliment our midfield group, but also has the ability to play in other areas of the ground."
Port Melbourne recorded seven wins and 11 losses in the 2022 VFL season, earning a 16th-placed finish.
The AFL confirmed this week that the 2023 VFL season will commence the weekend of March 25-26 next year.