Eagles ready to swoop on Clark; Fremantle bid could be trumped
West Coast yesterday emerged as a surprise frontrunner to secure the services of disgruntled out-of-contract Brisbane key forward Mitch Clark.
Fremantle seemed to be in the box seat to recruit Clark, who intends to relocate home to Western Australia and has requested the Lions to trade him, but its cross-town rival is making all the moves.
Clark, likely to be the highest profile player to switch clubs during the seven-day player exchange period that starts on Monday, has rejected a three-year contract offer from Brisbane, where he has played for six seasons.
The Eagles’ move on Clark comes hot on the heels of an optimistic comment earlier this week from his manager — Perth-based Colin Young — that Clark would join the Dockers.
“I’m pretty confident that Brisbane and Fremantle will get it done by Monday,” Young said.
However, a less than impressed Brisbane yesterday declared West Coast had shown more interest in Clark by preparing to satisfy the Lions’ request for a quality player and a suitable draft selection. Brisbane list manager Rob Kerr said the Eagles’ interest in Clark, 23, had increased since midfielder Brad Ebert’s decision earlier in the week to move home to Adelaide, requesting a trade to one of the two Adelaide clubs.
“With Ebert requesting to be moved on, it gives them room to move in their salary cap and West Coast has been more proactive than Fremantle in attempting to satisfy our requirements,” Kerr said.
Brisbane has yet to pass on its player wish-list to the Eagles, but has shown keen interest in several Dockers players, including back-up ruckman Zac Clarke, who just completed his best season in three years with Fremantle.
The Lions have been told Clarke is not on the table, and Brisbane has no interest in defender Paul Duffield following speculation that he could be part of the deal.
“Fremantle has been very tardy in talking seriously in what they’re prepared to offer,” Kerr said.
As posturing continued, Fremantle has told its other support ruckman Jonathon Griffin that he is required. Griffin, contracted for another year, has been at the Dockers for one season after 41 games with the Crows in four years.
He initially sought a release to Port Adelaide, anticipating better opportunities.
The Power is now focusing on Hawthorn ruckman Brent Renouf.
Clark, who seriously contemplated a move to Fremantle last year but was under contract, is seeking remuneration of about $550,000 a season in his next deal. In the absence for most of this season of Jonathan Brown, Clark was Brisbane’s leading goalkicker, with 27 from 17 games.
Meanwhile, Geelong assistant coach for the past two seasons, Matthew Egan, has joined Essendon in a similar capacity.
Egan played 59 games for the Cats after making his debut in 2005, before a debilitating foot injury prematurely ended his career.
And the Western Bulldogs yesterday appointed Shannon Grant to its assistant coaching staff. Grant had worked for the past two seasons with Essendon.
Fremantle yesterday appointed Peter Sumich as an assistant coach. The dual premiership West Coast player has been an assistant coach with the Eagles for the past 11 seasons.