Clark no give-away: Voss
Brisbane Lions coach Michael Voss says Mitch Clark is a required player, and insists the club will seek fair compensation if the out-of-contract utility gets his desired trade to Fremantle.
After six seasons with the Lions, Clark has asked to be traded back to his home state of Western Australia and new Fremantle coach Ross Lyon has expressed his desire to sign the ruck/forward.
Clark was taken by the Lions with the no.9 pick in the 2005 NAB AFL Draft, has played 82 games and was added to the leadership group in 2011.
He made the 40-man All Australian squad in 2009 and is seen as a crucial part of the club’s future.
The Lions have made Clark a contract offer and Voss said they would not give him up lightly.
“For me he’s a required player and he’s a very good player,” Voss said.
“You don’t give them away, let’s put it that way. When you’ve looked and recruited and made some of your projections based on who you think will and won’t be here, it’s important we get adequate compensation.
“He’s going to be a big part of the group that leads us into the future.”
At 200cm and 99kg, Clark is the prototype modern-day big man able to play forward and back. He earned his All Australian nomination two seasons ago playing in the ruck.
He was the Lions’ leading goal-kicker this season.
Voss said the Lions would be playing ‘fair’ rather than hard with Fremantle if it came to a trade.
“I’m speculating here because we haven’t talked to them on that level yet and we have to wait until we find out what is on offer,” he said.
“But to use a current expansion term, he’s a category-one player. He’s not a second-round draft pick, that’s for sure.”
Making Clark’s potential departure even harder for the Lions is the loss of fellow big man Brent Staker for the entire 2012 season.
Staker successfully underwent a full knee reconstruction less than two weeks ago that will keep him out for 12 months.
Two tall forwards would be an enormous void to fill.
“That’s why it makes it hard because we’re not now just looking at one club, but we’re looking at a type of player too,” Voss said.
Although not revealing the club’s draft strategy, Voss said the Lions would be likely to chase the best available player rather than a specific player type.