KEY FORWARD Mitch Clark says he has set his sights on making his anticipated return for Melbourne’s season opener against Port Adelaide at the MCG on Sunday, March 31.
Clark tore his Lisfranc in his right foot during a marking contest against Greater Western Sydney at the MCG in round 13 last year, which sidelined him for the rest of 2012. His absence was felt after he became a genuine focal point for the Demons in the first half of last season, booting 29 goals from 11 matches.
The 25 year-old has worked tirelessly in his pursuit to be available for round one, but he is also not going to jeopardise his long term prospects
“The biggest thing is not trying to rush it. At the end of the day, I really want to play round one and I’m sure the coaches and medical staff know that, because I’m pestering them to let me play,” he told melbournefc.com.au.
“But at the same time, I trust their method and the way they’ve got to go about it with me. They’ve got a lot of care for me, and I’ve just got to let them do their job and listen to them.
“At the end of the day, I don’t want this to be an ongoing thing that affects my career. I just want to get over it and leave it in the past. I’m just trying to do everything right for, hopefully, round one. If not, then we’ll just go from there.”
More than three weeks ago, Clark had the staples removed from his foot, which received the tick of approval from the medicos.
“It was a pretty quick, in and out, simple procedure. They’re happy with how everything is looking, so I’m just recovering from that,” he said.
“I’ve spent a couple of weeks in a moon boot, but the recovery has been a lot quicker than the last bout of surgery, which is pleasing.
“I’m walking around now and starting to build up in the gym, and then soon I’ll be running again.”
But Clark said undertaking his rehabilitation program in the pre-season had its challenges.
“It wouldn’t say that it’s frustrating, but it’s different with a serious injury. You train a lot by yourself in the rehab group, so I haven’t felt a part of it this year, compared to last year,” he said.
“But it’s been a good for me to step up in other areas, which has really helped my leadership. I’ve built up a lot of relationships with the guys as well.
“I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was tough, but I’m just trying to take every little victory as it comes. Hopefully from here on, it’s smooth sailing and I can get ready to play some footy and run around with the boys on the track.”