Clifton to make cameo appearance for Lakers against Bacchus Marsh

LAKE Wendouree coach Gavin Webb admits he is not expecting miracles out of Steve Clifton’s cameo appearance against Bacchus Marsh.

Box Hill Hawk Will Langford tackles North Ballarat Rooster Steve Clifton in a VFL match at Eureka Stadium.
picture: JEREMY BANNISTER

Box Hill Hawk Will Langford tackles North Ballarat Rooster Steve Clifton in a VFL match at Eureka Stadium. picture: JEREMY BANNISTER

Clifton, who will make a return to the Ballarat Football League at Maddingley Park on Saturday, is expected to pull on a Lakers jumper for two matches this season, before heading back overseas.

In what is one of the biggest signings in the Lakers’ history, the former Greater Western Sydney player and two-time VFL best and fairest winner will return to the club where his football career started as a junior.

Joining cousin Sam Clifton, who is playing his 250th game for Lake Wendouree, the 26-year-old is expected to spend time in the midfield and down forward.

He will come up against former North Ballarat Roosters premiership teammate Cam Richardson, who is spending his first year at the helm of Bacchus Marsh.

Webb said it was unfair to expect Clifton to come out and dominate, given he only returned to Australia this week, having been overseas on holidays for months.

Clifton is also expected to play in round five against Melton South before heading back overseas, with Lake Wendouree facing the bye next week.

“There’s not too much pressure on him at all, anything he can give us is a bonus,” Webb said.

“His natural ability will help him influence the game, it will give everyone a buzz and a boost around the club. 

“But it’s not like we expect him to come out and have 45 touches and blow the game apart.”

Webb also said it was unlikely he would pit his new star against Richardson, who has been dominant since returning to the BFL fold this year.

Club president Dave Clifton said he hoped to one day have his nephew at the club on a full-time basis, but that possibility was a long way down the track.

“We want to make it a good proposition for Steve in the future,” he said.

“He played all his junior footy here and it would be great to have him back here one day.”

A two-time winner of the prestigious JJ Liston trophy for VFL best and fairest in 2010 and 2013, Clifton had a promising AFL career cut short by a number of injuries.

He was drafted by the Giants as a rookie in 2010, playing his first season in the North East Australian Football League in 2011.

Clifton spent one season in the AFL in 2012, where he played five senior games in an injury-interrupted season.

patrick.nolan@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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