Demons’ Mitch Clark is worth the money
Sport can be a cruel thing. We all love sport here at The Roar. It’s fair to say that it’s a major part of all of our lives. That’s why I’m here, writing this article.
And that’s why we have such educated and well informed columnists and general observers of Australian and world sport coming together to have their say on a wide range of issues, opinions and news stories.
But one of the things we don’t like to see is such a promising, hard-working sportsman or sportswoman missing from their respective sport as a result of a bad injury.
I speak of Melbourne’s Mitch Clark.
I will admit I was one of the sceptics of Mitch at the start of the year.
I wondered why Melbourne would pay $750,000 a year for a player who was a seemingly run-of-the-mill forward/ruckman playing for a team which finished 15th last season. I thought, sure Mitch may be a competent player, but is he really worth that much?
I happily admit that I was wrong. He is worth every cent.
I, like many other people, looked at the Buddy Franklins and Jack Riewoldts of the competition.
I forgot the simple principle that for the majority of the time, a forward is only as influential on the scoreboard as his midfield brigade is at delivering the football.
Trent Cotchin, Brett Deledio and Dustin Martin assist in Tiger Jack’s big presence up forward. As a forward, you have a far greater opportunity to be a prolific goal-scorer when you have these types of players smoothly kicking it to you lace out as opposed to a few very capable, but inexperienced young players struggling under pressure or having the inability to kick accurately to a leading forward in space.
The next time you watch Buddy Franklin play, have a look at the quality of the delivery from his team-mates and you’ll soon understand what I’m talking about.
Compare that to the delivery Mitch Clark received for the majority of last year, and you’ll see the correlation between a successful forward teaming with a skilled midfield and a skilled forward not reaching his full potential due to an inexperienced midfield.
Last season, Clark spent time in between the ruck and the forward line and seemed a bit lost. He seemed like he didn’t have a specific role.
When Clark started his career, he was regularly getting 30-plus hit-outs per match, but the potential for Clark to become a power-forward, with strong agility and aerobic ability, the marking skills akin to that of Jonathon Brown and also a very capable set shot at goal was a quintessential necessity for Brisbane to rise up the ladder.
Slowly over time, Mitch has been transformed from a ruckman occasionally having a break in the forward line to a power-forward occasionally providing relief in the ruck.
We saw glimpses of this potential last season and saw the potential come to fruition in spades this season.
In eleven games, Clark has booted twenty-nine goals in an underwhelming and struggling Melbourne side.
He has defied the principle that a forward is only as good as his midfield brigade.
Every time the ball enters Melbourne’s forward 50, Mitch Clark does something.
He has come into a club in which times are difficult and has given his team-mates the confidence in their ability to challenge sides.
In seven months, Mitch Clark has done more for the Demons than any other Melbourne forward has done for probably the past five years.
He epitomises hard work and leadership.
Every Demons supporter should be extremely thankful that Melbourne recruiters delved deep into the bank account and saw what no-one else did: A genuine superstar with superior ability in every facet of forward line play.
Unfortunately, Mitch has been ruled out of the game for the remainder of the season due to a bad foot injury.
Not only is it bad for Mitch himself, it also places significant adversity on the Demons, for they lose their most impressive player for the year, someone who is a fantastic on-field leader and the general of the Melbourne forward line.
Indeed, sport can be a cruel thing.
I believe Mitch Clark has the ability to be a genuine great of the game, and there’s no doubt he’ll come back better than ever next season.
Not worth the money? I couldn’t have been more wrong.
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