REDLAND Victoria Point Sharks young gun Raphael Geesu, a member of the Brisbane Lions Academy, has been awarded the 2023 Troy Clarke Scholarship, named after the late Brisbane Bear player and AFL Queensland development manager Troy Clarke.
The scholarship aims to support a youngster from regional Queensland who shows the same core values as Clarke: dedication, passion and respect. It’s expected to boost Geesu’s football, education and personal development.
Clarke’s wife Natalie presented the scholarship to Raphael at a ceremony hosted at AFL Queensland.
Originally from Palm Island, 16-year-old Geesu moved to Brisbane as a baby, and at the age of seven, he befriended Will Butt and became an integral part of the Butt family, who have supported his football journey from the outset.
Geesu’s exceptional football talent, speed and skill and unique goal sense are recognised by the scholarship. These qualities are thought to be likely to attract attention from the AFL draft. This would be a considerable achievement for him and a reward for personal determination in following the Queensland football talent pathway after overcoming personal challenges.
Playing with the Redland Victoria Point Sharks, he was awarded the Under 15s Best and Fairest this season, was a Schoolboys representative in 2022 and 2023, and represented the Brisbane Lions at the National Under 16 Championships in 2022 and 2023.
Geesu said he was honoured to be this year’s recipient of the Troy Clarke Scholarship.
“I’ve heard a lot of good things about Troy and I’m honoured to be named the 2023 Troy Clarke Scholarship recipient,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to learning and meeting a lot of different people, getting to know different systems and different teams.
“I’d like to thank Bob and Lee Butt, who are a big part of my life as well as the academy coaches that have helped me on my pathway.”
Head of AFL Queensland Trisha Squires said, “Raphael is a young player whose football IQ exceeds his age, and he continues to excel on the field.”
“His achievements in football extend past the field, to his commitment to his own development and growth as a player and a person.
“We look forward to watching Raphael continue to pursue his football dreams with the support of the Troy Clarke Scholarship.”