Big Mitch steps into Brisbane Lions void - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Big Mitch steps into Brisbane Lions void

By Jim Morton 24/06/2009 05:10:57 PM Comments (0)

Mitch Clark's meteoric rise has seen the makeshift ruckman move from fringe Brisbane Lions player to team leader within three months.

Brisbane has breathed a sigh of relief with the previously injury-troubled Clark shrugging off a quad complaint to line up against lowly Melbourne at the Gabba on Saturday night.

Without the 21-year-old utility, the club's ruck stocks would be completely bare after serious injuries to Matthew Leuenberger (knee) and Jamie Charman (ankle).

Leuenberger isn't due back for another six weeks while Charman's season is over after undergoing ankle surgery on Monday night.

Viewed as a key-position player, who also spent time on the wing early this season, 200cm-tall Clark has stepped up brilliantly to become the Lions senior ruckman.

Assistant coach Adrian Fletcher said the 2005 first-round draft pick was improving all the time and had quickly matured in his best-ever season, coming after just 22 matches in three years.

"We're really confident he'll take his position in the ruck and forward (against Melbourne), wherever we need him," Fletcher said on Wednesday.

"He's become a really good player and he's become a leader, which is the exciting thing for us as a coaching staff.

"For a guy who is 21 to be a leader on game day is a good sign.

"But teams will try and work him out."

The Lions are revelling in a rare selection headache leading up to the clash with the Demons as key defenders Daniel Merrett (ankle) and Joel Patfull (jaw) are set to return, while rebounding half-back Josh Drummond (quad) is also a strong chance to play.

Lachlan Henderson and Jason Roe filled in admirably in the confidence-boosting seven-goal win over Hawthorn in Launceston before last week's mid-season bye.

"It's a great dilemma to have," Fletcher admitted. "It's the first opportunity we've had all season to try and squeeze eight defenders into six defenders.

"We just have to make sure the team balances up. We don't want to take away our run."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news