Hunter Clark after hurting his shoulder against Essendon in the AAMI Community Series on March 5, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

ST KILDA will continue to back Hunter Clark to play in his fearless approach with the young Saint to miss up to six weeks with a shoulder injury sustained in Saturday night's AAMI Community Series win over Essendon.

Clark, who suffered a brutal broken jaw last year from a collision involving Adelaide's David Mackay, went down with the injury in the final quarter against the Bombers at Marvel Stadium.

Contesting a loose ball with Essendon midfielder Darcy Parish, Clark made contact with Parish and injured his right shoulder, seeing him need assistance from the field with club medicos and have his shoulder iced post-game.

BOMBERS v SAINTS Full match coverage and stats

It followed Jack Billings' hamstring strain earlier in the game for the Saints, who won by 11 points ahead of their round one date with Collingwood. But Clark won't be there, with coach Brett Ratten ruling the classy ball-user out for the early rounds of the season. 


"Billings will get a scan on his hamstring and there'll be something there I suggest and Clark will be probably six weeks with an AC [joint]/shoulder [injury]," Ratten said.

"He might require some surgery I'm not sure completely there but scans will reveal that. He will be out for at least a month."

Clark's courage and rugged approach has long been a feature of his game, with his attack on the ball and contest a key marker for the Saints grabbing him with pick No.7 at the 2017 NAB AFL Draft. Ratten said the Saints wouldn't be trying to minimise his bravery and that the incident was unfortunate. 


"We don't want to take that away from him and that's the stuff we're pushing him to keep doing as a player. It's a bit of a signature for him to do that. I think it shows great courage for him to do what he did, especially after that broken jaw," he said.

"He's maybe a little bit too brave at times but he was a little bit unlucky. I think it was the right angle and he had [his arm] stretched out so he's a bit unfortunate."

Wingman Daniel McKenzie left the field with some soreness in his ankle but Ratten said the 25-year-old was fine.


The Bombers got through the game without injury concerns and will have Jake Stringer (groin), Dylan Shiel (managed) and Aaron Francis (knee) available for round one.

They kicked 9.17 in the defeat – four more scoring shots than the Saints – and assistant coach Blake Caracella said post-game that they were still working through a new-look forward line.

He was also enthused by marking forward option Kaine Baldwin, who could be in line for a round one debut after kicking a goal from 10 disposals and three marks against the Saints.

"Unfortunately we didn’t take our chances. It’s a work in progress. We’re a young team, a young forward line. It’s going to take time but I think we’re very close to scoring [well]," Caracella said.

"I thought [Baldwin] played really well. He did a lot of things off the ball that probably wouldn’t have been seen on the TV screen but he’s a young player who has missed a lot of footy and we’re really happy with his progress."