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Clisby earns his spot

Thursday, 31st October, 2013

Mitch Clisby in action for the Demons. PICTURE: Michael Willson Mitch Clisby in action for the Demons. PICTURE: Michael Willson

By Ethan James

After a stellar debut season for the Melbourne Demons, Broken Hill player Mitch Clisby has been elevated to the club’s senior list for 2014.

The 23-year-old put the finishing touches on a one-year contract with an option for a 12-month extension on Tuesday. 

Clisby, a West Robins’ junior, played eight games for the Demons in 2013 and drew plenty of praise for his work in defence. 

While thrilled with the elevation to Melbourne’s top 40 list, he spoke with perspective when talking to the Barrier Daily Truth yesterday.

“The excitement from the first year has probably worn off a little bit... this year and the coming years will be tough and a massive step up on and off the field,” he said.

Clisby made his debut in Round 13 against St Kilda before his season was cut short by an ill-timed suspension. 

“It was pretty frustrating to miss the last few. We copped a few heavy losses in that time as well. That doesn’t help when you’re sitting on the sidelines and can’t help out your teammates.”

Although he missed three weeks of footy, he did learn a valuable lesson.

“Don’t retaliate. I think that’s the main thing,” he said with a chuckle.

In a well-publicised embattled year for the Demons, who finished with just two wins, Clisby admitted it was difficult being thrown in the pressure-cooker environment of the AFL.

“It was a difficult year to come to the club. Every day we’d have media knocking on the door. The first few weeks were tough but you get used to it.

“It’s the same for most of the clubs here in Melbourne, although we had a bit more attention than most. You realise that it’s not going to go away so you just have to deal with it.”

But 2013 is now water under the bridge and with experienced mentor Paul Roos taking the reins, Clisby is hopeful of an improved showing. 

“He had a team meeting with everyone and then I’ve had two one-on-one meetings with him since.

“He comes across as a really honest guy and that’s what the club needs. I’m looking forward to working with him and improving my game. 

“There has been a fair bit in and out of the squad but I think we’ve picked up some really good midfielders.”

Despite being just eight games into his senior career, Clisby has already been touted as a leadership prospect.

“It is something to aim for and work hard to achieve but first I have to earn the trust of the playing group,” he said.

In the off season, Clisby came home to Broken Hill, spent time with mates in Adelaide and had a holiday in Thailand.

The Demons start pre-season training on Wednesday, the first step in the process of creating a better 2014.

“Hopefully, there’s some better news to write about next year.”

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