Doncaster RLFC v Hunslet Hawks: Clark does Dons’ Kiwi tradition proud

Mitch Clark
Mitch Clark

Doncaster RLFC have been well served by New Zealand players over the years and young prop Mitch Clark is maintaining that tradition in 2015.

The 22 year-old forward, who was born in Yorkshire during his father Trevor's two-year spell playing for the likes of Leeds, Featherstone and Bradford, had been turning out for the second sting of NRL side Penrith Panthers,

“It was my decision to come over here and give it a crack but my dad always backs what I do,” said Clark.

“I was wanting to come over here and prove myself in England and play at a high a level as possible.

“The Championship is about the same standard as I was playing back home but such as Leigh and Bradford are better sides.”

Clark interested several clubs but elected to join Doncaster due to the fact that they had finished fourth in the Championship the previous year and fellow Kiwi CEO Carl Hall played alongside his dad at Bradford.

Despite being the club’s marquee signing during the close season, Clark didn’t exactly set the team alight in his first few games.

“Having come from Australia, where the temperatures were in the high 20s to England, where it was very cold early season, took a bit of getting used to,” he recalled.

But as the weather got hotter so did his form.

The level of his performances also rose by another couple of notches when Australian prop Matt Groat arrived on the scene in mid-season.

“We play well together and we’ve missed Matt in our last three games,” said Clark, whose displays are likely to have caught the attention of other clubs.

“Everything is still up in the air as to my future plans and I’m just looking to try and help the team get its first win and to keep playing as well as I can.

“Although I didn’t have that plan in mind when I first came, I could see myself playing over here for a few more years.”

Although he has only been at the club just over a month, Clark says he has been impressed with new coach Gary Thornton.

“He came in at a difficult time but he's doing all he can (to turn things around). I’m sure that first win will come – hopefully against Hunslet on Sunday.

“He’s brought in one or two new players and he’s started to give us the leadership and organisation we’ve missed in recent weeks.”