Mitch Clark of Melbourne contests the ball with Chris Dawes of Collingwood
Mitch Clark of Melbourne contests the ball with Chris Dawes of Collingwood DAVID CROSLING

Clark to battle his demons after footy

AFTER battling clinical depression for the past 12 months, Melbourne forward Mitch Clark yesterday told the club he could not commit to a full-time career and was retiring immediately.

Just last month the 26-year-old sought permission from the club to spend some time away to deal with his wellbeing.

Clark, who joined the Demons at the end of the 2011 season after spending six years with the Brisbane Lions, endured a terrible run with injuries. He played just 15 games for Melbourne after injuring his foot in round 13, 2012. His ongoing foot problems were compounded by a hamstring complaint in the pre-season.

In announcing his retirement, he thanked the Melbourne Football Club for its support during what was the toughest time of his career.

"Everyone at the club has been so supportive of me during some very challenging times, which I will always be appreciative of," he said.

"I want to say thank-you to the players and members for being there for me. I'm sorry I wasn't out on the field more, but with my injuries, it just wasn't to be. I am very grateful for everything Melbourne has done for me. I will always consider myself a Melbourne player and a Melbourne person."

While disappointed to lose such a talented player, Melbourne's manager of football Josh Mahoney said the club fully understood and supported Clark's decision.

"Mitch's health has been the priority in this situation," Mahoney said. "The club has been supporting Mitch throughout his illness, providing the best resources to assist him in his rehabilitation. We will continue to support him throughout the next phase of his life."

Meanwhile, veteran Lions defender Matt Maguire could be in line for a recall against Port Adelaide on Saturday after full-back Daniel Merrett accepted a two-match ban for striking.

Maguire booted three goals in the reserves last weekend and his experience could be invaluable against a Port forward line that includes Justin Westhoff and John Butcher.

Luke Shuey (West Coast), Brandon Matera (Gold Coast) and Taylor Adams (Collingwood) will all miss this weekend's round after accepting one-match bans for incidents last weekend.

Meanwhile Fremantle received more bad news yesterday with small forward Michael Walters sidelined after sustaining tendon damage in last Friday night's 58-point loss to Hawthorn.