Lions drive hard bargain to lose Clark
The Brisbane Lions have demanded a top draft pick and a rising young star as their minimum price for Mitch Clark, who has informed the club he wants to be traded to Fremantle.
Clark’s departure would continue an alarming exodus of talent from Brisbane, joining Jared Brennan and Michael Rischitelli (Gold Coast), Justin Sherman (Bulldogs), Daniel Bradshaw (Swans), Lachie Henderson (Carlton) and Luke Power (retired).
The Lions want Fremantle’s top draft pick, expected to be somewhere between 12 and 15, and an established player capable of slotting straight into a senior role – possibly exciting ruck/forward Zac Clarke.
Clark told Lions coach Michael Voss before last night’s club champion function that he wanted to join the Dockers but was warned the deal would be done on Brisbane’s terms.
Zac Clarke, a late bloomer, came to football after a successful junior basketball career. He has emerged as a serious talent, and is in a similar mould to Mitch Clark in that he can play deep forward and ruck. Contracted to the end of 2013, he is an exciting long-term prospect but the Dockers feel Mitch Clark’s greater experience could be the missing ingredient for a tilt at a premiership while veterans Matthew Pavlich and Aaron Sandilands are at their peak.
The Dockers are torn between trading for Clark or winning the frenzied auction for 17-year-old West Australian future superstar Jaeger O’Meara, who is ineligible for this draft but can be on-sold by expansion club GWS, who can predraft him.
Coach Mark Harvey wants the deal done but it is believed the club’s recruiters are leaning towards the long-term strategy of O’Meara.
Lions football manager Dean Warren said the club was keen to retain Clark but accepted his personal reasons for wanting to go home. The fact Clark has only nominated one club has made it difficult to get a deal done.
And given his importance to the side’s structure, the scarcity of talls on the Lions’ list and the fact that Clark was a top 10 draft pick with five years invested in his development, a trade would not come cheap.
“We have to do what’s best for our football club,” Warren said.
Clark, drafted from East Fremantle, has kicked 61 goals in 82 games but has played his best football in the ruck, where he was nominated for All Australian selection in 1999.