AFL boss Gillon McLachlan hopes the discussion around Mitch Clark’s mooted comeback and potential departure from the Demons is ‘done the right way’.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan hopes speculation over the future of Mitch Clark, who retired earlier this year due to depression, is done “the right way”.
It emerged this week that Clark, who retired aged 26 in March to concentrate on his health, was keen to resurrect his AFL career.
The expectation is he will leave Melbourne, the club that snared him in a 2011 trade.
Already the ruck-forward has attracted criticism.
“There will inevitably be a discussion about where he’s going to play,” McLachlan told radio station 3AW on Friday.
“Hopefully it will be done the right way.
“It might not sometimes, but I think our industry is getting much better generally in this area.
“People (now better) understand what a terrible thing mental illness is and how prevalent it is.
“People understand that the priority for Mitch at all times has been his health … (they) have respected and understood that.”
Clark suffered a series of injuries in a promising AFL career that started in 2005 when he was drafted by Brisbane.
Carlton coach Mick Malthouse this week suggested he would be “filthy” if he was working at Melbourne and Clark left.
“Because they’ve gone out of their way to get him … they paid him big money because he was on his way to Fremantle (in 2011),” Malthouse told radio station 5AA.
“I do care what illness he’s had, but it’s not reflective of the trade bait.
“If he’s going to be traded, he’s got to accept that he took on responsibility to sign a three-year contract with Melbourne. He didn’t complete it.”
Fremantle coach Ross Lyon delivered a not-so-subtle swipe at Clark earlier in the week.
“Mitch, what’s his name?” Lyon replied when asked about the prospect of Clark joining Fremantle.
“He did have an opportunity to come here that he didn’t take.”
Meanwhile, free agent James Frawley is yet to tell the Demons whether he wants to stay or go.
Frawley is expected to leave the club.
In an interview on the Demons’ website, coach Paul Roos said Frawley is yet to inform the club of his intentions.
Roos hoped the 25-year-old would resist the chance to join a more prestigious side like Geelong, but said he wanted pick No.3 in the draft as compensation if Frawley does depart.
“That’s probably what everyone is saying in the media and everyone from other clubs … I suppose I see that as a fair compensation,” Roos said.