Sunday, July 10, 2016

Claytons earn place on the top shelf

Brendon "Mulga" Clayton, with sons Nic, left,
and Zac, right, and grandson Louis.
WHEN it comes to the New Norfolk District Football Club and the Clayton family, the history runs long and the games mount up. Playing at the Boyer Oval against Claremont on July 2, Nic Clayton added another page to this unique football story.

Playing his 150th senior game, Clayton joined his father Brendon and brother Zac as playing life members of the NNDFC. Brendon received his life membership in 1986, Zac 2006 and now Nic in 2016.

All three have worn the number 36 guernsey while playing for their beloved Eagles. This is something that means a lot to Brendon or "Mulga" as he is better known. "It's now a tradition really," he said.

When Nic played his 150th senior game last Saturday, it was also his 177th club game, which was the same number his brother Zac played.

Zac and Nic's grandfather Doug played 95 games for New Norfolk and their great uncle Bernie played 108 games. Their uncle Brett played 18 games, uncle Fabian played in the fourths and colts while uncle Michael is one of the clubs biggest supporters.

Perhaps the most famous of them all, another uncle, Cameron Clayton did not get to play a senior or reserves game for New Norfolk as he was picked up by Richmond in the then VFL while playing for the New Norfolk Under 19s. In Cameron's first year of VFL football he played in Richmond's 1974 premiership win. He also played with Melbourne and Essendon.

As of last weekend, the Clayton clan has played a staggering 726 games for the NNDFC, consisting of 569 senior games and 157 reserves games. Mulga's mother Jessie and wife Gaylene must have washed a lot of guernseys.

Along with his 151 games for the Eagles, Mulga also played 175 games with Claremont, bagging five premierships. By coincidence Nic's milestone game was against Claremont and the Eagles didn't disappoint. Despite being the underdogs, they defied the odds and defeated last years premiers by 21 points. As Nic was chaired from the ground at the end of the match, both the New Norfolk and Claremont teams formed a guard of honour.

The Claytons have never been short on fans either. Aside from Mulga's four brothers, he also has 10 sisters. And among the extended family is NNDFC president Ben Shaw - a cousin to Zac and Nic. The Clayton story looks set to continue with Zac's two boys Louis and Harry waiting in the wings to don the number 36 guernsey.

Well done Clayton clan, may the tradition continue for many more years.

Thank you to Ray Aitchison for his assistance with the game totals.

WADE GLEESON

Doug Clayton
NNDFC 1947-53
95 games (63 seniors, 32 reserves)
Life member of the New Norfolk Old Players Association. Doug also played with New Norfolk Rovers in 1939 and then NNDFC in 1940 and 1945 and New Norfolk Rovers again in 1946.

Bernie Clayton
NNDFC 1947-53
108 games (87 seniors, 21 reserves)
Life member of the New Norfolk Old Players Association. Bernie also played with the New Norfolk Rovers in 1946.

Cameron Clayton
NNDFC up to 1973
Played Under 19s before being picked up by Richmond in the then VFL and later played with the Essendon and Melbourne clubs.

Brendon Clayton
NNDFC 1976-86. Playing Life Member
151 games (95 seniors, 56 reserves)
Played in the 1979 and 1981 Reserves premierships. Coached the New Norfolk reserves in 1995-96 and was runners up to North Hobart in 1995.
Claremont Football Club 1987-94
175 games (145 seniors, 30 reserves)
Played in senior premierships 1987, 1988, 1991, 1992 and runners up in 1989 and 1990. Captain-coached the reserves in 1993 and 1994 and won the premiership and state premiership in 1993.

Brett Clayton
NNDFC 1981
18 reserves games including 1981 reserves premiership

Fabian Clayton
NNDFC 1987-89
Played Fourths and Under 19s
Also played with Claremont

Zac Clayton
NNDFC 1999-2011 and 2016. Playing Life Member
177 games (174 seniors, 3 reserves)
Senior premierships - 2005 & 2009
Played with Claremont in 2008

Nic Clayton
NNDFC 2004-present
177 games (150 seniors, 27 reserves)
Senior premierships 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014 (one as captain). Runners up in 2011 and 2015

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