Geelong forward Mitch Clark was sledged by Hawthorn players during the Cats’ 62-point loss on Easter Monday, Joel Selwood says.
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In his first AFL game since round four, 2013, Clark was allegedly subject to comments relating to his time out of the game due a mental health issue.
Selwood said he did not hear the comments whilst on the field, but was made aware of the issue post-match.
“I was unaware of it at the time of the game being played,” Selwood is quoted as saying by AFL.com.au.
“I have had a discussion with him since the game, there was things brought up about it but we’ve had discussions before with Mitch and we understand this might be a possibility to come up.”
Selwood said that Clark was in a “good head space”, but was prepared to cop negative comments about his battle with depression.
“He’s in a really good head space now and the way that he’s come to our football club and the impact he’s had on our football club already has been huge,” he said.
“Personally, I wouldn’t be going out there and saying it but if people choose to do it then he’s ready for it.
“We’re playing a team (Hawthorn) that is ruthless, that are the best team in the league at the moment. You probably expect it to come.”
Hawthorn defender Josh Gibson said it was the first he’d heard of the comments made by teammates, but added that it was not something he wanted to hear on the field.
“It’s an illness so I don’t know if we should be going there,” Gibson said.
“I played at that end of the ground and I didn’t hear anything like that being said but I wasn’t standing next to him to whole day. It’s the first I’ve heard about it.
“What Joel’s said that it’s an ongoing issue for him.
“You (Geelong) guys have spoken with him and the club and they’ve probably put things in place to prepare him to hear things like that but you don’t want to be hearing that on the field when it’s a topic as delicate as that.”
The revelations sparked outrage on social media, with former Sydney Swans star Wayne Schwass expressing his dismay at the alleged incident.
— Swatta (@WayneSchwass) April 9, 2015
Clark joined the Cats in late 2014 after quitting the sport in 2013 whilst at Melbourne.