Clarke, who has been an assistant coach at Adelaide for the past 10 years, will step into the role immediately, after the Crows’ inaugural AFLW coach Bec Goddard last month returned to Canberra to pursue her law enforcement career.
Goddard led the club to a flag in the competition’s first season.
Clarke, 44, will for now balance his new role with his ongoing duties overseeing Adelaide’s ruck division.
The club said he would be “responsible for all facets of coaching, player development, leadership and strategic planning for the Club’s AFLW program”, with the sign and trade period for the fledgling league kicking off today, and running until June 4.
Clarke said the new appointment was “an honour”.
“During the past two years I’ve watched the formation of our team and admired the commitment and passion they have demonstrated… to now be fully involved in the program is something I’m very much looking forward to,” he said in a statement.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity and excited about what our club can achieve in season three of the competition by building on the strong program that has already been established.”
Crows Head of Football Brett Burton said the Clarke has “a brilliant strategic mind” and would bring “a strong focus on personal development and culture”.
“As a club, we went through a thorough process to get the best person for this role and Matt brings a wealth of experience and qualities we feel will strengthen our women’s program,” he said.
The AFLW will expand to a 10-team competition in 2019.
A qualified vet, Clarke was first drafted by Richmond but left the Tigers without playing a senior game. However, he went on to play 248 games with Brisbane and Adelaide before adding a further 10 with St Kilda in 2007.
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