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Clisby back in AFL for a short stint

Saturday, 21st February, 2015

Mitch Clisby will play for Essendon in the NAB Cup. Mitch Clisby will play for Essendon in the NAB Cup.

By Peter Argent

West Broken Hill Robin, Mitchell Clisby, is back in an AFL program with the Essendon Bombers.

The club has on-going problems after infraction notices were issued by the AFL against 34 players at Essendon over allegations they broke anti-doping rules in 2012.

With the tribunal yet to make its final decision, a number of these players are still on the Essendon list and under temporary suspension.

With the findings not expected for another month, the Bombers were threatening to boycott the NAB Cup.

But now a solution has been found with the recruitment of new players like Mitchell Clisby for the Cup.

Now 25 years old, Clisby played eight games for Melbourne when current Bombers coaching staff members Mark Neeld and Neil Craig were at the Demons.

Committed to play North Adelaide in the SANFL this year, the 189cm tall Clisby is regarded as a quality outside midfielder, with strong running ability.

“A former Melbourne rookie player, Mitch was rated highly as a junior and comes to the club on a recommendation by Mark Neeld and Neil Craig,” said Essendon List Manager Adrian Dodoro.

“Clisby has the ability to play on the wing or play through the midfield. 

“He played eight senior games after making his debut at Melbourne under Neil (Craig).”

But North Adelaide Football Manager Darryl Wintle said the club was disappointed that the Bombers talked directly to the player instead of following protocols and approaching North Adelaide first. 

“Our understanding at the moment is the top up players are initially required for a month,” Wintle said. 

“But because of the issues surrounding Essendon at the moment, you don’t know how long this may drag on.

“It is naturally very disruptive for our pre-season preparation, taking a player of Mitch’s quality out of our program. 

“We’re disappointed with the process, but are, and have been, in discussions with Mitch.

“Frustratingly, the limited information we have received has only made any processes harder.

“Over the next couple of days we will continue to discuss the issues with him. 

“We are certainly keen to ensure what is best for Mitch, as we have a philosophy about giving our players every opportunity at the highest level.”

Clisby is understandably committed to the chance of showing his wares at the top level, even if it is for just a short period at first.

It is believed he will move to Melbourne over the weekend.

Essendon’s plan is to get a full group of top-up players together by Monday, February 23 and introduce them to its VFL training program ahead of the NAB Challenge.

“The players are doing us a favour by making themselves available and the clubs are also making a sacrifice there,” Essendon Football Manager Rob Kerr said this week on Melbourne Radio.

“Some of the finer details to be agreed involve implications for state league clubs and compensation in the event of injury.”

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