GEELONG coach Chris Scott has declared first-round draft selection Jordan Clark a likely starter for the Cats’ season-opening clash with the Magpies.
Scott told SEN the talented young defender was close to cementing his spot in the side after a pair of strong JLT Community Series outings.
“He’s got to the point where it would be hard to push him out (of the side),” Scott said.
“It’s less about him having to force his way in, he forced his way into our pre-season team and we decided to play pretty stable teams across those two games and he certainly played well enough.
“The argument could be made he played well enough to hold his spot, but I must say with over a week to go, I’m not in the business of guaranteeing 18-year-olds a round one spot.”
Clark sparkled in his first game in the hoops, amassing 21 touches and nine rebound 50s against the reigning premiers at Leederville Oval before backing that up 11 disposals and six marks in a win over the Bombers.
“He’s been impressive in every way,” Scott said.
“The thing that’s impressed me as much as anything is that Jordan’s background as a young athlete was one that favoured cricket probably more than footy, especially through the summer months.
“He’s never really had a pre-season because he was so focused on his cricket career.
“He had the genuine chance to choose an elite path in both sports. Fortunately for us he chose footy.”
“In my estimation, that suggested because he hadn’t had a pre-season he might have had a bit to learn in terms of footy and a bit of work to do in terms of his footy conditioning, but every time we’ve raised the stakes with him he’s been able to step up.”
It’s looking like it was a really good pick. - Chris Scott on Jordan Clark
Scott is hoping Clark can help the Cats to turn their luck with top end picks, with only Nakia Cockatoo left at the club from the four first-round selections made since Scott joined the club in late 2010.
“Clearly one of the things we just haven’t delivered on as footy club over my time at the club, and this is my ninth season at Geelong, we just haven’t been able to turn our first round picks, albeit later first round picks, into really good and consistent AFL players,” Scott said.
“That may sound as if we’re putting a bit of pressure on Jordan but I think he’s more than up to the task.