New role no fac­tor in Lion’s fu­ture

Townsville Bulletin - - Sport -

EL­E­VA­TION to the Bris­bane Lions lead­er­ship group will have ‘‘ no im­pact’’ on loom­ing con­tract talks, an in-de­mand Mitch Clark says.

The Lions made it clear they had big plans for Clark when adding the 23-year-old West Aus­tralian prod­uct to their new-look group along with young­ster Tom Rock­liff and Josh Drum­mond yes­ter­day.

They join cap­tain Jonathan Brown, Daniel Mer­rett and Jed Ad­cock i n t he elite group.

Pro­mo­tion could help Bris­bane in any tug-of-war with WA c l ubs o v e r t he o f f - con­tract key po­si­tion player.

B u t C l a r k – a n E a s t Fre­man­tle ex­port – sur­pris­ingly hinted that no one should read too much into it.

Clark r emained at t he Lions in 2011 af­ter in­ves­ti­gat­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of a trade to the west.

‘‘ No, it ( the fu­ture) wasn’t dis­cussed at all ( be­fore his pro­mo­tion),’’ Clark said yes­ter­day.

‘‘ I don’t think you should be picked in a lead­er­ship group to try and keep you at a foot­ball club – hope­fully that is not the case here.’’

Asked if be­ing named in the group would have an im­pact on fu­ture con­tract talks, Clark said: ‘‘ No im­pact at all. ‘‘ I am happy at the Lions. ‘‘ I just want to play footy this year, con­trib­ute to the team and con­tract time will take care of it­self.’’

F o l l o w i n g B r e n d a n Fevola’s sack­ing, Clark is more im­por­tant to the Lions than ever due to his abil­ity to pinch-hit be­tween the for­ward line and ruck to as­sist Matthew Leuen­berger.

The once in­jury-plagued Clark has played 65 games since his 2006 AFL de­but.

Re­mark­ably it has taken just 20 games for Rock­liff to force his way into the lead­er­ship group.

‘‘ I would ex­pect him to have a fairly prom­i­nent role in our fu­ture,’’ Lions coach Michael Voss said of the third-sea­son player.

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