Melbourne coach Paul Roos is likely to place Mitch Clark on the long-term injury list as the tall forward spends time away from the club for health reasons.
Clark completed a recovery from a long-term foot injury but the new Melbourne coach has sanctioned a period of indefinite leave for the talented West Australian.
“Everyone’s respectful of what Mitch is going through, I don’t think I need to go into any specifics other than to say we’re really supportive of him being away from the club,” Roos said.
“His health is the main issue at the moment, there’s some discussions at the moment about putting him on the long-term injury list to take the pressure off him.”
Roos said he was not concerned about how many weeks of football Clark might miss.
“It’s about getting a process in place to make sure he gets healthy as soon as he can.”
On Sunday Clark took to Twitter to say “I would like to thank @melbournefc and everyone for their understanding and support at this time.”
Placing Clark on the long-term injury list will allow the Demons to replace him with a rookie listed player, with Alex Georgiou named by Roos as a potential candidate.
The 200cm forward has enjoyed only one injury-free season in his eight years in the AFL: 2009, when he played every game for the Lions.
After just 15 games in two seasons for the Demons he was expected to return from a long-term foot injury early this year but was hit with a calf injury.
Clark’s absence will hurt Melbourne’s goal-kicking power, with Chris Dawes (calf) and Jesse Hogan (back) restricted to running in training and not available for selection for their round one match with St Kilda on Saturday night.
Further north, Gold Coast’s impressive win against Richmond has been soured by a long-term shoulder injury to Jack Martin on debut.
Less than a quarter into his AFL career, the 19-year-old did “considerable damage” to his left AC joint diving for an errant kick by Tom Lynch.
The midfielder – described by Suns coaching director Malcolm Blight as the best young prospect in a generation – has been ruled out indefinitely and said it was a deflating way to start his AFL career.
“It was a such a big build up and it was great that the boys got the win, but individually, I will probably remember it for all the wrong reasons,” he said in a Suns statement.
“I’m now just looking forward to starting my rehabilitation and giving myself every chance of playing some football later in the season.”
Martin and Gold Coast’s medical team will finalise an appropriate course of action over the coming days.