Retired Melbourne forward Mitch Clark has confirmed his hopes to again play in the AFL but Paul Roos says his health needs to come first.
Mitch Clark’s health comes before any AFL comeback at Melbourne according to coach Paul Roos.
The former Brisbane and Melbourne forward retired earlier in the year to seek treatment for mental illness, but has declared his hopes to play again.
Stopped by reporters while training, Clark said he was keen to rebuild an AFL career and believed he could repeat his best football.
“I love Melbourne as a footy club … I’d love to stay at Melbourne,” he told AFL Game Day.
“I’ve always had the view that I needed to get away to get back and that’s what I’ve done.
“I’ve been doing a fair bit of work on myself and hopefully I can stay healthy.”
The forward retired after his diagnosis, negotiating a payout from the AFL strugglers, but remains on the Demons’ playing list.
That means any AFL comeback would be most likely with Melbourne or with the Demons’ blessing through a trade.
Clark said a discussion with coach Paul Roos needed to come before stepping up his comeback plans.
“I think people are jumping the gun … I’d just like some privacy to work through it,” Clark said.
Roos, speaking after he’d caught up with the 26-year-old, said Clark’s health came first.
“We’ve always been concerned about his wellbeing,” he said.
“The retirement was based on Mitch’s health … there wasn’t really a lot of talk about football.”
Roos said he broached the subject of returning to Melbourne with the former forward but did not reach a definitive answer.
“We’ll have some more dialogue with him,” Roos said.
“He’d have to sign a new contract with us, get traded or go in the pre-season draft.”
The premiership coach did say compensation would be on his mind should Clark seek a trade elsewhere.
“You’ve potentially lost your best player, along with Nathan Jones,” he said.
“We would want some compensation, clearly.”
Roos also met with wantaway Collingwood defender Heritier Lumumba last week, suggesting the 90 minute cafe chat was more about getting to know the man.
“I was quite surprised at how he polarised people,” he said.
“I’ve seen him as a really good opposition player, I’ve never seen him as a troublemaker or anything like that.”
The Swans’ premiership coach also confirmed Essendon coach Simon Goodwin was another assistant coach Melbourne had “informally” spoken to about signing with the club.