Young set to right old wrongs

Young set to right old wrongs

THE need to add a midfielder who can run and carry the ball and deliver it cleanly inside attacking 50 encouraged Collingwood to secure Clinton Young. That he was also a left-footer meant the Magpies had even greater interest.

Young yesterday spoke about how difficult a decision it had been to leave the Hawks after eight seasons, although this was somewhat softened by the knowledge that he was leaving one club firmly in the premiership mix to join another firmly in calculations for next year's flag.

The loss of Sharrod Wellingham had the Magpies in the market for another onballer, and the signing of Young, 26, on a three-year contract may even mean they are better off.

''He runs and carries the ball. He kicks it very well. He is a left-footer, we don't have a hell of a lot of left-footers, which might be a bit oblique, but I think that's a bit of a plus,'' Magpies football manager Geoff Walsh said.

''And, on transition, he is probably an 80 or 90-metre player. He carries and kicks it very well.''

Young's signature comes as the Magpies consider taking former Blue Jordan Russell as a delisted free agent. Russell had a medical at Collingwood yesterday.


Young managed 116 matches for the Hawks, including 20 this year, kicking 13 goals.

His last appearance was the grand final defeat. The image of him tripping over and allowing Kieren Jack to boot a crucial goal in the final term still resonates in the memory of all who watched that pulsating battle.

''There is a lot of great people at Hawthorn. I spent eight years there, [made] many friends,'' Young said.

''It was very tough moving away from that but, for me, going forward, this is the best decision.''

While he has ''moved forward'', that defeat on the last Saturday of September will be used as a spur, even though he is at a new club.

''Grand final losses stay with the players that played for a long time, so it's extra motivation for me going forward to hopefully get back on that day and win,'' Young said.

He will have to bide his time, though. He is in a surgical boot, recovering from a foot operation. He will join his teammates at a high-altitude camp in Utah in December and is expected to be in full training by January.

Jon Pierik

Jon Pierik is a sports writer with The Age, focusing primarily on AFL football, cricket and basketball. He has won awards for his cricket and basketball writing.

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