Mitch Clark may have played last game for Lions as Fremantle, Richmond, Sydney, GWS chase off-contract star
Brisbane star Mitch Clark may have played his last match for the Lions.
The out-of-contract forward/ruckman is under an injury cloud and is in doubt for Saturday’s clash with West Coast at the Gabba – Brisbane’s second-last outing of 2011.
Clark hobbled to Lions training yesterday on crutches with his foot in a surgical moon boot.
If he misses the showdown with the Eagles it is unlikely he would play against Sydney in the Lions’ final fixture for the year.
Fremantle, Richmond, Sydney and Greater Western Sydney have all expressed interest in Clark, who is understood to be asking for $600,000 a year.
The Lions are continuing negotiations with Clark’s management and hope to secure his signature before the end of the season.
The 23-year-old was in doubt for last weekend’s match against Collingwood and was only given the all-clear to play after getting through a training session behind closed doors last Friday.
He was clearly below his best at the MCG in the gutsy 18-point loss to Collingwood and had a minimal impact on the contest.
As part of Brisbane’s strategy to “manage” the injury, Clark will not train this week to give his foot the best possible chance of coming good in time for the match against the Eagles.
Midfielder Daniel Rich committed to theLions as part of a wave of re-signings in the past month including Matthew Leuenberger, Tom Rockliff, Patrick Karnezis, Jared Polec, Ryan Harwood and Jesse O’Brien.
He would love to see Clark added to that list but said there was no pressure being put on him to sign on the dotted line.
“It’s not really spoken about between the boys,” Rich said before yesterday’s training session at the Gabba. “It would be great to see Clarky re-sign but I’m sure that’s being dealt with.”
While Clark’s immediate future is in limbo, Rich is delighted that ruckman Leuenberger is staying at the Gabba.
Leuenberger will be crucial to Brisbane’s hopes of upsetting the finals-bound Eagles, who have the dynamic ruck duo of Dean Cox and Nic Naitanui at their disposal.
The giant 23-year-old has been in red-hot form for Brisbane.
“He’s (Leuenberger) been going really well. I’ve always known he is a star and he will be a star,” Rich said.
“It’s pretty exciting that he’s signed.”