Clark feeling “comfortable”

March 18, 2024 11:15 am in by
Geelong young gun Jhye Clark in action during the Round 1 win over St Kilda. (Marcel Berens/Sports Media)

Young gun Jhye Clark isn’t putting too much pressure on himself despite producing an eye-catching performance in Geelong’s win over St Kilda on Saturday night.

The 19-year-old, who recently put pen to paper on a two-year contract extension, had 13 disposals and two clearances in his first full AFL outing to help the Cats to an eight-point victory.

Clark battled a minor foot problem pre-Christmas unrelated to the navicular issue derailing his 2023 campaign after he debuted as the substitute in the Round 9 loss to Richmond.

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He says a clear run in the New Year has proved beneficial.

“I just wanted to have a solid pre-season, get consistency training, which I got post-Christmas,” he said.

“Then, throughout the year, try and get a spot in the team and help the team out wherever I can.

“There’s not too many expectations or anything, and there’s no pressure from the club or anything like that at all.

“It makes you feel very comfortable.”

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Alongside fellow Geelong Falcons graduate Tanner Bruhn and rising star Max Holmes, Clark is seen as a key plank in the future of the Cats’ midfield.

He’s excited about spending the coming years alongside that duo.

“They’re two very good players who are really solidifying their spot in the AFL,” Clark said.

“And players like Ollie Dempsey played great on the weekend.

“And there’s more in the VFL team, like Toby Conway, Mitch Knevitt.

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“There’s so many young players that are really learning off those older players, and those older players have been really good for us to learn off.”

Drafted with Geelong’s first pick (No.8 overall) in the 2022 National Draft, the Queenscliff product had no hesitation in committing himself to the Cats until the end of 2026.

“A very easy decision to make for management, family and myself,” Clark said. “(I’m) hugely grateful for the opportunity.

“To be signing on with Zac (Guthrie) and Oisin (Mullin), it’s very nice.”

Vice-captain Tom Stewart is an unabashed fan of Clark.

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“As soon as I saw the news yesterday that he signed (for) two years, I was very quick to send him a message and congratulate him,” Stewart said.

“His start to his career hasn’t been smooth sailing, so the resilience that he’s shown and the character that he has is really top class.

“He’s only scratching the surface of his talent, and I think we saw out there on Saturday night the hardness that he brings in and the honesty that he plays the game with.

“He’s a great teammate, and he’s a really, really good kid.”

Hear the full interview with Jhye Clark in our pre-game coverage of the Cats’ clash with Adelaide on Friday night.

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