Clark confirms move from Brisbane
Brisbane Lions big man Mitch Clark has told coach Michael Voss he wants to be traded to another club.
Clark is likely to become a prime recruiting target on the open market across the nation, but appears most likely to head home to Western Australia and join Fremantle.
Voss had remained confident in recent weeks that Clark would take a new contract to be an integral facet in Brisbane’s plans for revival over the next two to three years.
Clark’s decision to leave is a major body blow to Voss and the Lions rejuvenation package.
Dockers coach Mark Harvey has already flagged intentions to bid heavily to win Clark’s key forward playing services in Fremantle plans to rebuild after missing finals in 2011.
Harvey is understood to have told the gifted power forward that he could be the difference in Fremantle being a premiership combination in the next few seasons if Clark elected to join the Dockers.
Clark is expected to be offered a lucrative four-year deal with Fremantle.
Clark, 23, told Voss of his decision to leave the Lions on Saturday ahead of Brisbane’s 2011 club champion presentation night.
He could be traded to Fremantle for an early draft pick the Dockers expect to get in compensation for losing midfielder Rhys Palmer to Greater Western Sydney as an uncontracted player.
Clark’s manager Colin Young confirmed on Saturday that the big Lion has asked to be traded out of Brisbane.
“Mitch has asked Michael Voss if Brisbane can arrange a trade for him,” Young told sportsnewsfirst.com.au.
“Mitch has thought carefully on his future plans and has decided he wants to look at all of his options.
“I will now work with Mitch, Brisbane and any option available to us to arrange the most suitable trade for him.”
Young and Clark met with Voss in Brisbane just before the Lions last home-and-away game of the season against Sydney in Round 24.
Clark missed the last two games of the season with Achilles heel and knee problems and met with Voss just days after Brisbane’s last game of the season.
Clark is understood to have had one final meeting with Voss early last week when the Lions coach made a last-ditch bid to keep his emerging big forward.
Clark has been linked with a possible move to new AFL franchise Greater Western Sydney or a Melbourne-based club in desperate need of a power forward or back-up ruck force.
Clark was originally recruited to Brisbane from Western Australian through the 2005 national draft in the first round of selections as pick number nine overall.
He emerged this season as a gifted lead-up key forward as the Lions suffered a bitter blow with two long injury stints for champion big man Jonathan Brown.
Clark has been earmarked as a power forward and occasional lead ruckman in support to Dockers colossus Aaron Sandilands.
Clark played 82 games with Brisbane since his debut in the opening week of 2006 before the powerhouse ruck force suffered a succession of lower leg problems that stalled his initiation into the AFL.
He has continued to be hampered with leg problems through his time at Brisbane.
His finest single season was clearly in 2009 when he played all 24 games, including two finals, for an average of 16 possessions a match and around 22 hitouts an outing.
He finished third in the Lions fairest-and-best voting in that breakout season just marginally behind Brown as the winner and sensational veteran midfielder Simon Black.
Clark was Brisbane’s leading goal-scorer this season with 27 majors from his 17 games and averaged around 14 possessions a match.