Clark's may be long-term injury

Melbourne may move Mitch Clark to the long-term injury list, to ease any additional pressure the forward may sense as he takes time away from the club to deal with personal problems.

The Demons are not sure when Clark will rejoin the club, after being granted a leave of absence on the weekend, but planned to talk to him on Monday and make a decision on whether to shift him to the injury list by Tuesday morning.

That would mean not playing any football for at least the next eight weeks - and enable the the club to promote rookie defender Alex Georgiou to the senior list - but coach Paul Roos said the club's priority was to help Clark feel healthy again.

"I think everyone's respectful of what Mitch is going through. I don't think I need to go into any any specifics other than to say we're really supportive of him being away from the club. His health is the main issue at the moment," said Roos.

While Clark has overcome the foot injury that ruined his last two seasons, soft tissue problems have contributed to another challenging pre-season for the 26-year-old. He has not played since round four, 2013.

"There's some discussions at the moment about putting him on the long term injury list just to really take the presure off him. It's unlikely he's going to play during that eight weeks. We'll have some dialogue with him about that today but clearly with Mitch it's about his health and making sure that's a priority.

"I'm not at liberty to go into any details but I think what we do know now, more than 15 or 20 years ago, is that some of the issues that are facing people in society are the same issues that face players.

"It's early stages. All we're saying to Mitch is, we're really supportive, We've talked him through where he's at and being away from the club which we're fine with. So it's just stages at the moment. We're not too worried about how long it is. At the moment it's just getting the process in place to make sure he gets healthy as quick as he can."

Melbourne will start the season without not only Clark, but two other key other forwards in Chris Dawes and Jesse Hogan. Hogan has been managing a back complaint, but started running last week and should be available to play in the next couple of weeks. Dawes has been held up by a calf problem, but is also closing in on a return.

Roos wants to give Max Gawn at least one more game in the VFL, where he played his first pre-season game on the weekend, and said the Demons would look to Jack Fitzpatrick, Jeremy Howe and perhaps Cameron Pedersen, as well as find creative ways to goal.

Georgiou is in line to play his first game, with draftee Jay Kennedy-Harris also on Roos' mind. If Georgiou doesn't take Clark's place on the list he could instead replace Aiden Riley, who has almost overcome a leg injury and is due to return from the long-term injury list to the senior squad in three weeks.

The Demons will start out against a St Kilda side missing Lenny Hayes, Leigh Montagna and Jack Steven, but Roos said the Melbourne midfield was still getting to know each other, given the off-season arrivals of Dom Tyson, Daniel Cross, Bernie Vince and Viv Michie.

"The only difficulty you have during the NAB Cup, when you have eight on the bench, is getting a firm group together over a period of time. But individually we've been really pleased with them," he said.

"The focus over the last week and a half to two weeks has been just trying to consolidate that midfield group, so they know each other. We've been taught a lesson by Hawthorn - they know where to stand at stoppages, they know where to stand at a kick in, they know where tho stand when they get the ball - and that's part of us having to play more games to get to know how each player plays.

"Individually, I've been really happy with the guys we've bought in. Collectively we need to now start playing together."

This story Clark's may be long-term injury first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.