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Clark trying to mould his game around two of the best

Josh Gabelich  December 6, 2017 10:59 AM

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 24: Pick number 7 Hunter Clark of the Saints poses with Alan Richardson, Senior Coach of the Saints during the 2017 NAB AFL Draft at Sydney Showground on 24 November, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media) (Editors note: This image is free for editorial use only)

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 24: Pick number 7 Hunter Clark of the Saints poses with Alan Richardson, Senior Coach of the Saints during the 2017 NAB AFL Draft at Sydney Showground on 24 November, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media) (Editors note: This image is free for editorial use only)

They’re just a couple of things that I’ve tried to introduce to my game over the last couple of years.

He might have a similar hairstyle to two of the best in the business, but it's not the only thing Hunter Clark is trying to emulate.

The new St Kilda recruit has spent the last couple of years trying to mould his game around two of the game’s best midfielders in Fremantle skipper Nat Fyfe and Western Bulldogs premiership hero Marcus Bontempelli.

Clark, who the Saints chose with their first selection in last month’s NAB AFL Draft at pick No. 7, starred in the midfield for the Dandenong Stingrays and Vic Country this year, after producing a dominant 2016 at half-back.

Renowned for his precise foot skills and his poise under pressure, Clark has looked to add Fyfe’s attack on the ball and Bontempelli’s composure in congestion to enhance his game.

If the Mt Martha product reaches anywhere near the heights of these two, St Kilda supporters are in for a hell of a ride.

“I took bits and pieces out of a few players, like Fyfe for example, the way he attacks the ball in the air and on the ground he doesn’t shy away from anyone at all, so I try and bring that to my game,” Clark told 3AW Sportsday on Tuesday night.

“And kind of a bit of Bontempelli as well because of his clean hands around traffic and being able to find space and release to other players.

“They’re just a couple of things that I’ve tried to introduce to my game over the last couple of years and I think they’re two of my strengths. They are two players that I look up to.”

Clark admits the leap from junior football to life in an elite environment has been even greater than he anticipated, but one he is loving every second of.

“It’s been pretty challenging; you’re there for a lot more hours to what you’re used to in the juniors and the intensity of every single drill is almost like a match,” Clark said.

“Some of the drills that we’ve been doing feel like you’ve been out in a match for five minutes. I expected (the increase in intensity) but some of it has been surprising.

“You know you’re going to be worked hard, but St Kilda does a really good job at managing the first-years’ workload so we don’t break down. Going to training is tough and my fitness is improving each session.”