The Dockers have room within salary cap to accommodate Mitch Clark
Fremantle looms large as the new club of choice for out-of-contract Brisbane forward Mitch Clark.
Provided a suitable trade is orchestrated between the two clubs next month, Clark is poised to join the Dockers in a lucrative, multi-year contract.
But his future will become clearer within the next fortnight when he is expected to inform the Lions of his plans, after six seasons in Brisbane.
The Dockers, who have flat out rejected recruiting Brendan Fevola but are in need of a quality key forward, have expressed a keen interest in Clark for the second year in a row.
Clark seriously contemplated a move home to Western Australia last year to join Fremantle, if the Lions’ stretched salary cap continued to be an issue.
The Dockers have room in their salary cap to accommodate Clark, whose management is seeking remuneration of more than $500,000 a season in his next deal.
It is believed Clark, who is rehabilitating from minor knee surgery last month, and his Perth-based agent Colin Young have had a three-year contract extension in front of them from the Lions for more than a month.
It is understood neither Clark nor Greater Western Sydney want a future relationship, despite the 24-year-old being linked to the Giants start-up for most of this year.
Lions’ list manager Rob Kerr yesterday said Brisbane had not given up hope of retaining Clark.
“Col (Young) and I talk regularly,” Kerr said. “I’m not certain whether he’ll be with us, but we haven’t given up on it.
“The lure of him returning home is not a fait accompli.”
But in a development that will not help the Lions’ cause, Clark’s parents are relocating back to Western Australia, after living in Queensland for several years.
“I’m in dialogue with both Mitch and his manager and I’d expect a decision within the next couple of weeks,” Kerr said.
Before being presented with Brisbane’s latest offer, Young told The Australian: “He’ll either remain with Brisbane or look at other options.”
In the absence for most of this season of captain Jonathan Brown, Clark is Brisbane’s leading goal kicker, with 27 from just 16 games.
The former East Fremantle junior has played 81 games since being drafted in the first round of the 2005 national draft.
Clark had a break-out year in 2009, when he played in all 24 games, mainly as a ruckman and had more than 500 hit outs, took almost 150 marks and 400 possessions.
He was considered unlucky not to have gained All-Australian honours two years ago as a support ruckman to Aaron Sandilands, who in all likelihood will be his new teammate from next year.
In its 16 years in the competition, Fremantle has had only two players to kick more than 70 goals in a season _ Tony Modra and Matthew Pavlich (twice) _ but this injury-riddled season has been a barren one for key forwards. With one round remaining, Chris Mayne is the Dockers’ leading goal kicker with 24.
While Clark will be a welcome addition to a struggling forward structure, the Dockers appear likely to lose back-up ruckman Jonathon Griffin to Port Adelaide, and possibly the out-of-contract Rhys Palmer to GWS.