Green's future still clouded

Sportal July 27, 2012, 12:36 pm
Brad Green

Getty Images © Enlarge photo

Melbourne coach Mark Neeld has been impressed with the form of Brad Green going into the stalwart's milestone 250th appearance, but refused to be drawn on whether or not the long-serving Demon would be offered the chance to play on next season.

Green, 31, will become only the eighth Melbourne player to reach 250 games when the Demons take on North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

"We had a bit of a presentation to Brad this morning," Neeld said Friday.

"An amazing achievement now I think, there won't be too many people play that (250 matches), just because of the demands of the game.

"Jared Rivers got up this morning and spoke about Brad to the whole group and it was outstanding. 250 games is something to celebrate, it's pretty special.

A survivor of Melbourne's 2000 Grand Final loss to Essendon, Green was among Melbourne's better players in defeats to Fremantle and Port Adelaide in the previous two rounds, impressing on his return from a hip flexor injury.

And with Mitch Clark sidelined for the season, Green will need to continue his strong showing if the Demons are to have any chance of halting the in-form Kangaroos.

"He's been certainly our most effective forward, I think he's kicked the most goals for us since he's been back," Neeld said.

"He came back after his injury and kicked a whole heap of goals in his comeback game in the VFL, so he's in good form, which is pleasing."

Despite improving on a below-par season in 2011, it remains to be seen if Green, who was stripped of the captaincy by Neeld upon the coach's arrival at the club, will play on in 2013.

When asked how difficult it would be to make a decision on the veteran's future, Neeld said:"I'm not sure how I'd rate it on a toughness scale, Brad and I will sit down, as will our entire list management group, and we'll talk to Brad.

"At the end of the day those things are a group decision and that'll take place (later)."

Another player with his future in doubt, albeit for different reasons, is Liam Jurrah.

The 23-year-old forward reported back to Melbourne on Friday after learning he will face trial over assault charges in the Northern Territory, with his next appearance in an Alice Springs court due in September.

"He only got back to the club this morning, he seems really good," Neeld said.

"That initial hearing is now done and dusted and we know what Liam's got in store for him there.

"He won't play this weekend but hopefully the following weekend at (VFL side) Casey, and ... the club will provide as much support as it can for Liam."

Out of contract at the end of the season, Neeld said the priority now for Jurrah was to work hard in a bid to regain match fitness, before any decision on a contract extension would be considered.

"We just need Liam to show commitment to his training program and get out there and start playing football again," he said.

"Again that's a decision for later and we'll just see how things pan out. I don't want to speculate."

Neeld also declined the opportunity to speculate about the future of Collingwood's Travis Cloke, after the Magpies this week suspended negotiations over a new deal for the power forward until the end of the season.

"I reckon somewhere along the list management discussions at 17 clubs Travis Cloke's name would have been brought up," he said.

"We'll be like everyone else, we have a look at what's available, whether or not it fits our club at the time and then we'll make a decision on that.

"Whatever's going on with contract negotiations at other clubs, that's for them to sort out."

COMPARE & SAVE