For a great whereas there, it appeared like each time Hunter Clark stepped out onto the sector, his night would finish in a hospital mattress.
Three main surgical procedures within the house of six video games from Spherical 13, 2021 to Spherical 16, 2022 to restore a damaged jaw, AC joint and a facial fracture respectively have spelled greater than a torrid run for the No. 11, with a concussion in his return match from the primary setback curbing his time on-field even additional.
The sleek-mover, though proving his capacity to bounce by means of hazard on-field with ease, was unable to flee from what the previous two seasons have thrown at him.
Hunter Clark is stretchered off the sector throughout Spherical 16, 2022 after breaking his nostril following a head conflict with teammate Dan Butler. Picture: AFL Photographs.
Any one of many collisions he’s been concerned in – eyes solely for the ball and braveness plain – are sufficient to make the pores and skin crawl; the behind-closed-doors photos taken of his grotesque pair of facial accidents whereas awaiting surgical procedure much more so.
For Clark, the journey has understandably been of 1 frustration. At occasions he’s been pressured to eat by means of a straw, unable to elevate his arm above his eyeline and maybe most of all, be restricted to only 21 out of a doable 44 matches.
Now the skilful Saint has motive to really feel assured in his personal pores and skin, lastly within the midst of a sustained injury-free patch as he appears to shrug off the previous two injury-addled campaigns and write a way more optimistic sequel heading into 2023.
Class and carnage: Clark’s previous two years Earlier Subsequent 00:47 RD16 | Pleasant fireplace sees Clark stretchered off Hunter Clark and Dan Butler collided heads in a sickening incident which noticed the previous stretchered off
01:14 VFL | Clark all class over Carlton Take pleasure in Hunter Clark’s standout VFL efficiency for the Zebras
01:21 AAMI Neighborhood Sequence | Heavy hit leaves Clark second-best Hunter Clark is helped off the sector after injuring his shoulder on this heavy conflict with Darcy Parish
00:25 RD20 | Sore Clark comes off after jaw scare Returning Saint Hunter Clark leaves the sector after an harm concern over his jaw
00:29 RD13 | Crunching hit sees Clark subbed out A bone-crunching bump from David Mackay has seen Hunter Clark come off second finest as he was ultimately subbed out
01:05 RD7 | King and Clark with one final occasion trick Hunter Clark and Max King mix for one stellar aim to finish a terrific night time for the Saints
00:46 RD7 | Clark’s sensational solo effort fools all of them Hunter Clark produces a merely beautiful particular person aim, smothering a Hawk’s kick and promoting sweet to perfection
00:42 Pepper Cash Second of the Match | Battle v Clark Vote for this weeks Pepper Cash Second of the Match between Josh Battle’s brave assault and Hunter Clark’s mammoth deal with.
00:27 Pepper Cash Second of the Match | Clark v Kent Have your say within the newest Pepper Cash Second of the Match.
01:40 ‘It is superior to depart Adelaide with two wins’: Clark after Spherical 8 win Hunter Clark spoke to STK Media after our Spherical 8 win over ladder leaders Port Adelaide.
“It’s been fairly robust on me, however that’s a part of the sport. It’s simply good to be on the market now to get a little bit of continuity over the summer time, so hopefully that may carry into the 12 months,” Clark informed saints.com.au.
“I’d say my confidence was rattled final 12 months. For shut to 3 video games in a row I used to be going into surgical procedure after a sport, so getting again on the market my confidence in all probability was a bit decrease and I wasn’t taking part in how I needed to.
“It’s been difficult to be sincere. They’ve been fairly high-contact accidents which were fairly painful, however I’ve had nice assist round me each at and away from the membership in order that’s undoubtedly helped.”
Hunter Clark rehydrates after one other operating block at RSEA Park. Picture: Lucy Edwards.
Line coach Lenny Hayes, whereas a newcomer in Clark’s troubled stretch, has been amongst these within the younger Saint’s nook.
The three-time Greatest & Fairest signalled his intentions to assist the No. 11 – who on the time had garnered vital curiosity from North Melbourne in the course of the Commerce Interval – attain his full potential and leverage his “monumental upside” final November, since placing within the hours to get him again up and operating by means of the midfield.
St Kilda’s elevated a great deal of high-speed, high-intensity operating this pre-season to facilitate a sooner sport model slots proper into Clark’s wheelhouse, particularly his seemingly easy capacity to slide previous his opponents like a sizzling knife by means of butter.
“Lenny’s been superior. He’s an unreal individual and you may see that in the way in which he coaches us,” Clark mentioned.
“I’ve had a good few accidents the previous few years, so it’s simply good to really feel that confidence he’s given me. I really feel like the way in which we’ve been coaching with the issues he’s been educating me – bodywork and issues like that – it’s beginning to repay a good bit.
“He desires to get to know you and cares about you, however clearly he’s among the finest gamers in… oh, without end actually. Simply to have somebody with that data and who’s competed and been the perfect at what he does, I’m not taking it with no consideration.
“I believe everybody would be capable of say the identical how he’s been in a position to put numerous confidence into us. I’m feeling actually good about the whole lot up to now.”
Clark hopes Season 2023 is not going to solely deliver a few change in his fortunes on-field, but additionally a reunion with fellow draftee classmates Nick Coffield and Ben Paton.
The trio haven’t performed a sport collectively because the Saints’ 2020 semi-final in opposition to Richmond – a season which marked career-best, breakout seasons for all three – with Paton snapping his tibia and fibula in February of 2021 and Coffield rupturing his ACL nearly a 12 months later to overlook the whole thing of final season.
Ben Paton, Nick Coffield and Hunter Clark pictured in Noosa in the course of the COVID-19-affected 2020 Season. That 12 months’s semi-final was the final time the trio performed collectively in pink, white and black. Picture: Corey Scicluna.
“We do discuss these little issues within the locker room and away from the membership and it does get you excited,” Clark mentioned.
“It’ll be a great increase for everybody when Coff will get again to coaching absolutely, and Pato’s been going properly too. We’ve all had some massive accidents and all had completely different paths, but it surely’ll be cool simply to get on the market collectively once more.
“I simply need to deal with being wholesome and I do know what I can do on the footy area. With a bit of fresh well being, I’m positive I’ll be capable of play some good footy.”