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Sam Mitchell (footballer)

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Sam Mitchell
Sam Mitchell 2019.1.jpg
Mitchell with Hawthorn in 2019
Personal information
Full name Samuel Mitchell
Date of birth (1982-10-12) 12 October 1982 (age 39)
Place of birth Box Hill, Victoria
Original team(s) Eastern Ranges (TAC Cup)
Draft No. 36, 2001 national draft
Debut Round 5, 2002, Hawthorn
vs. Richmond, at Melbourne Cricket Ground
Height 180 cm (5 ft 11 in)
Weight 84 kg (185 lb)
Position(s) Midfielder / defender
Club information
Current club Hawthorn (head coach)
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
2002–2016 Hawthorn 307 (67)
2017 West Coast 022 0(4)
Total 329 (71)
Representative team honours
Years Team Games (Goals)
2008 Victoria 1 (0)
International team honours
2014–2015 Australia 2 (0)
Coaching career3
Years Club Games (W–L–D)
2021 Box Hill (VFL) 10 0(8–2–0)
2022– Hawthorn 22 (8–14–0)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 2017.
3 Coaching statistics correct as of 2022.
Career highlights
Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com

Samuel Mitchell (born 12 October 1982) is an Australian rules football coach and former player who is the current coach of the Hawthorn Football Club in the Australian Football League.

As a player, he played with the Hawthorn Football Club and West Coast Eagles in the Australian Football League. Following his retirement in 2017, Mitchell remained with West Coast as an assistant coach in 2018. In 2019, Mitchell returned to Hawthorn as the midfield coach before becoming head of development and senior coach of Hawthorn's VFL affiliate team, the Box Hill Hawks in 2021.[1] In July 2021, Hawthorn appointed Mitchell as the next senior coach, taking over from Alastair Clarkson at the end of the 2021 season.[2]

Early life[edit]

A product of Mooroolbark, in Melbourne's outer eastern suburbs, Mitchell played in the under 18 TAC Cup competition with the Eastern Ranges. He was the club's best and fairest player in 1999 and 2000.[3] Disappointed at being overlooked in the 2000 draft, Mitchell joined the Box Hill Hawks. After a couple of games in the development squad he gained promotion to the seniors and completed the season as the team's number one rover. He was a member of Box Hill's premiership side in 2001.

Playing career[edit]

Hawthorn[edit]

Mitchell was recruited to the Hawthorn Football Club in the AFL in the 2001 AFL draft with selection number 36. This selection was received by Hawthorn in the deal which saw Trent Croad and Luke McPharlin traded to Fremantle, whilst Hawthorn gained selections one (Luke Hodge), 20 (Daniel Elstone) and number 36 (Mitchell).[4][5]

The first half of his debut season in 2002 saw him playing with the Box Hill Hawks, until he broke into the Hawthorn side midway through the season. Following some unimpressive performances where he never managed more than 14 disposals, he was dropped for round 15 but was recalled after more eye-catching performances in round 19. He polled 31 votes in just 11 games to win the VFL's best and fairest award, the J. J. Liston Trophy.[6][7]

Mitchell in September 2007

In 2003 Mitchell continued to improve, winning the 2003 AFL Rising Star award and becoming known as "the Extractor" (particularly by commentator Brian Taylor) for his high amount of clearances and ability to win the ball out of middle of the ground.[8][9]

A solid season followed in 2004, and in 2005 he played a "super" season until a foot injury sidelined him in round 15. For the 2006 season, Mitchell was named vice-captain of Hawthorn and displayed stellar form throughout the season culminating in winning the Peter Crimmins Medal for Hawthorn's best and fairest.[10]

In 2007 he capped off another wonderful season by coming 3rd in the votes for the highest honour in Australian Football, the Brownlow Medal with 21 votes, 1 short of joint 2nd-place winners, North Melbourne's Brent Harvey and Brisbane's Simon Black who both polled 22 votes, and coming 8 votes behind winner of the 2007 Brownlow, Geelong's Jimmy Bartel.[11]

On 6 October 2007, during the Peter Crimmins Medal Event, he was announced as Hawthorn's next captain, taking over the reins from retiring captain Richie Vandenberg.[12][13]


Mitchell was ineligible for 2008's Brownlow Medal following a tripping charge in the match against Melbourne in round nine.[14]

On Saturday, 27 September, Mitchell captained the Hawks to the 2008 premiership, the first in 17 years and the club's 10th, beating the reigning premiers, Geelong, by 26 points. Mitchell was reported for rough conduct against Geelong's Gary Ablett, Jr. in the second quarter, however the report was dismissed at the conclusion of the weekend.[15]

At the end of the 2010 season he handed the captaincy over to Luke Hodge, who was made captain of the 2010 All-Australian team.[16][17]

Mitchell with Hawthorn in 2014

Mitchell polled 30 votes in the 2011 Brownlow Medal, but was ineligible to win after an incident in round 5 of the season; he had the second-most votes, behind Collingwood's Dane Swan. In 2012, Mitchell, along with Richmond's Trent Cotchin, both finished tied for second place in the Brownlow to Jobe Watson. On 12 January 2016 the World Anti-Doping Agency found Watson and another 33 Essendon players guilty of taking a prohibited substance during the 2012 AFL season, an AFL commission meeting in November 2016 determined the implications for the 2012 Brownlow Medal.[18] On 15 November 2016, Mitchell and Cotchin were both retrospectively awarded the medal, and, on 13 December 2016, both were formally presented with the Medals in a private ceremony in Melbourne.[19][20][21]

Mitchell was rewarded with the Peter Crimmins Medal in 2011, 2012 and 2016, and became a five-time best and fairest winner at Hawthorn, behind only Leigh Matthews who won eight during his career.[22][23][24][25]

Mitchell became a triple premiership player with the Hawks in season 2014, and like a swathe of his team mates his year was interrupted by a serious injury. After overcoming a serious hamstring injury that saw him miss nine weeks, it meant that Mitchell played only 16 of a possible 25 games for the Hawks, his lowest tally since 2005 when he played 14 games. Still averaging over 28 disposals per game for the season mixing between midfield and half-back, Mitchell played a critical role in Hawthorn’s back-to-back premierships and was recognised as such by being named the side’s best player in the finals series by his coaches. Averaging 31.6 disposals, 9.0 marks, 6.3 tackles and 5.6 clearances across the three games, and was unlucky not to win the Norm Smith Medal in the Grand Final after 33 disposals, nine tackles, seven clearances and a goal assist.[26][27]

Mitchell became a four-time premiership player with the Hawks in season 2015, with some considering it to be Sam Mitchell’s best AFL season to date in which he earned his third All Australian selection, but finished just behind Josh Gibson and Cyril Rioli in the Peter Crimmins Medal count. His disposal tally of 748 and average of 31.2 topped the AFL and represents his own peak. On 16 occasions Mitchell tallied 30 or more disposals, and collected a record-breaking 137 disposals across four matches during the finals. Mitchell was again named the club’s Best Player in Finals. Polling 26 votes in the 2015 Brownlow Medal, Mitchell finished in the top three vote-getters for the third time in his career.[28][29]

Mitchell played a total of 307 games and kicked a total of 67 goals for Hawthorn from 2002 until 2016.[30]

West Coast Eagles[edit]

On 12 October 2016, news broke that Mitchell, at Hawthorn's request, was considering a move to West Coast[31] and he was officially traded to West Coast two days later.[32] In August 2017, he announced he would retire from the AFL at the end of the 2017 season.[33] Sam Mitchell played the final game of his career in the semi final, where he recorded two goals and twenty-eight disposals in a 67-point loss to Greater Western Sydney.[34] Mitchell played a total of 22 games and kicked a total of 4 goals for West Coast Eagles in 2017, in his only one season at the club.[35]

Coaching career[edit]

Mitchell with West Coast in 2018

West Coast Eagles[edit]

Shortly after his retirement from playing, Mitchell served as an assistant coach with the West Coast Eagles in 2018.[36] At the conclusion of the 2018 AFL season, which saw West Coast win the AFL premiership in the 2018 AFL Grand Final, Mitchell departed the West Coast Eagles.[37]

Hawthorn[edit]

At the conclusion of the 2018 AFL season, Mitchell returned to Hawthorn to serve as an assistant coach in the position of midfield coach before becoming head of development and senior coach of Hawthorn's VFL affiliate team, the Box Hill Hawks in 2021.[38][39]

On 6 July 2021, the Hawthorn Football Club announced that as part of a succession plan, Mitchell would succeed Alastair Clarkson as the senior coach of Hawthorn from 2023; until then, Mitchell will continue as Head of Development and as Box Hill Hawks senior coach.[40][41][42] However, on 30 July 2021, it was announced that Clarkson would leave Hawthorn at the conclusion of the 2021 AFL season, with Mitchell immediately succeeding him.[43][44][45][46]

Kneeing controversy[edit]

On 13 July 2015, Mitchell was found guilty by the AFL's match review panel of having kneed the right thigh of Fremantle Dockers player Nathan Fyfe during the second quarter of the previous day's game and was fined $1000 for the offence. The media then brought to light other kneeing incidents involving Mitchell, those being the kneeing of Adelaide Crows captain Taylor Walker in the round 12 game and the kneeing of Greater Western Sydney's Ryan Griffen in round 6 of the 2015 season.[47][48] Another kneeing video incident surfaced of Mitchell kneeing North Melbourne defender Scott Thompson. The video shows Mitchell walking up to an unsuspecting Thompson and kneeing him in the left thigh.[49] Media reports from 2008 show that an opposition club, Brisbane expressed concerns to the AFL about Sam Mitchell's kneeing of opponents.[50]

Playing style[edit]

Mitchell is often cited as one of the most ambidextrous players in the AFL and much opinion is made about which is his preferred foot. Although some have claimed that he was originally a left footer who switched to right foot later in his junior career, Mitchell has stated that he has just always tried to use the appropriate foot for the situation. He does however switch to his left foot when he wants to kick longer.[51] Similarly, his handpassing is equally good with either hand.

Statistics[edit]

Playing statistics[edit]

Legend
  G  
Goals
  K  
Kicks
  D  
Disposals 
  T  
Tackles
  B  
Behinds 
  H  
Handballs 
  M  
Marks
  #  
Played in that season's 
premiership team
  †  
Led the league for 
the season
  ±  
Won that season's 
Brownlow Medal
Season Team No. Games Totals Averages (per game) Votes
G B K H D M T G B K H D M T
2002 Hawthorn 28 9 1 1 53 48 101 19 29 0.1 0.1 5.9 5.3 11.2 2.1 3.2 1
2003 Hawthorn 28 21 5 2 199 174 373 54 89 0.2 0.1 9.5 8.3 17.8 2.6 4.2 9
2004 Hawthorn 5 20 5 5 210 162 372 47 60 0.3 0.3 10.5 8.1 18.6 2.4 3.0 2
2005 Hawthorn 5 14 2 4 186 157 343 62 49 0.1 0.3 13.3 11.2 24.5 4.4 3.5 9
2006 Hawthorn 5 22 3 6 327 265 592 119 71 0.1 0.3 14.9 12.0 26.9 5.4 3.2 13
2007 Hawthorn 5 23 2 3 262 331 593 120 96 0.1 0.1 11.4 14.4 25.8 5.2 4.2 21
2008# Hawthorn 5 24 4 2 313 354 667 90 88 0.2 0.1 13.0 14.8 27.8 3.8 3.7 15
2009 Hawthorn 5 22 7 3 346 308 654 111 66 0.3 0.1 15.7 14.0 29.7 5.0 3.0 13
2010 Hawthorn 5 19 5 4 282 242 524 76 90 0.3 0.2 14.8 12.7 27.6 4.0 4.7 15
2011 Hawthorn 5 23 12 8 404 297 701 94 99 0.5 0.3 17.6 12.9 30.5 4.1 4.3 30
2012 Hawthorn 5 24 7 7 345 308 653 84 133 0.3 0.3 14.4 12.8 27.2 3.5 5.5 26±
2013# Hawthorn 5 24 5 5 371 302 673 83 78 0.2 0.2 15.5 12.6 28.0 3.5 3.3 16
2014# Hawthorn 5 16 3 3 228 221 449 78 55 0.2 0.2 14.3 13.8 28.1 4.9 3.4 8
2015# Hawthorn 5 24 6 3 374 374 748 98 92 0.3 0.1 15.6 15.6 31.2 4.1 3.8 26
2016 Hawthorn 5 22 0 3 343 309 652 80 79 0.0 0.1 15.6 14.0 29.6 3.6 3.6 16
2017 West Coast 1 22 4 4 260 278 538 71 64 0.1 0.2 13.0 13.9 26.9 3.6 3.2 7
Career[52] 329 71 63 4503 4130 8633 1286 1238 0.2 0.2 13.8 12.6 26.4 3.9 3.8 227

Coaching statistics[edit]

Mitchell in 2019

Updated to the end of 2022.[53]

Legend
 W  Wins  L  Losses  D  Draws  W%  Winning percentage  LP  Ladder position  LT  League teams
Season Team Games W L D W % LP LT
2022 Hawthorn 22 8 14 0 36.4% 13 18
Career totals 22 8 14 0 36.4%

Honours and achievements[edit]

Team

Individual

Personal life[edit]

Mitchell married Lyndall Degenhardt in early November 2009. They have a son and twin daughters.[54][55]

References[edit]

  1. ^ SEN (19 October 2018). "Sam Mitchell returns to Hawthorn as an assistant coach". Seven News. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  2. ^ "Clarkson to step down as senior coach at end of 2021". Hawthorn Football Club. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
  3. ^ "Eastern Ranges - TAC Cup - SportsTG". SportsTG.
  4. ^ McFarlane, Glenn (25 September 2013). "It was the trade that made Hawthorn and Fremantle the teams they are today". Herald Sun.
  5. ^ "SAM MITCHELL". Retrieved 29 June 2022.
  6. ^ Oldham, Gordon (17 September 2002). "Box Hill midfielder wins Liston Medal".
  7. ^ "SAM MITCHELL". Retrieved 29 June 2022.
  8. ^ Brereton, Dermott (6 September 2003). "Mitchell, the Extractor, pulling out all the stops".
  9. ^ "SAM MITCHELL". Retrieved 29 June 2022.
  10. ^ "SAM MITCHELL". Retrieved 29 June 2022.
  11. ^ "SAM MITCHELL". Retrieved 29 June 2022.
  12. ^ "Mitchell to captain Hawks". foxsports.com.au.
  13. ^ "SAM MITCHELL". Retrieved 29 June 2022.
  14. ^ "SAM MITCHELL". Retrieved 29 June 2022.
  15. ^ "SAM MITCHELL". Retrieved 29 June 2022.
  16. ^ "Hawthorn captain Luke Hodge will ask Sam Mitchell for leadership advice". news.com.au.
  17. ^ "SAM MITCHELL". Retrieved 29 June 2022.
  18. ^ "AFL asked 2012 Brownlow Medal runners-up Sam Mitchell, Trent Cotchin to present cases for inheriting Jobe Watson's award". Fox Sports (Australia). News Corp Australia. 12 October 2016. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  19. ^ Browne, Ashley (15 November 2016). "Trent Cotchin and Sam Mitchell awarded 2012 Brownlow Medal". AFL.com.au. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  20. ^ King, Travis (13 December 2016). "Mitchell, Cotchin share 'something unique' in medal handover". AFL.com.au. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  21. ^ "SAM MITCHELL". Retrieved 29 June 2022.
  22. ^ Warner, Michael (9 October 2011). "Sam Mitchell wins Hawthorn's best and fairest". Herald Sun. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  23. ^ Hayes, Mark (9 October 2012). "Midfielder Sam Mitchell wins the Hawthorn best and fairest, his fourth Peter Crimmins Medal". Fox Sports (Australia). News Corp Australia. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  24. ^ Navaratnam, Dinny (8 October 2016). "Sam Mitchell second only to 'Lethal' after fifth Hawks B&F". AFL.com.au. Bigpond. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  25. ^ "SAM MITCHELL". Retrieved 29 June 2022.
  26. ^ "2014 Review: Sam Mitchell".
  27. ^ "SAM MITCHELL". Retrieved 29 June 2022.
  28. ^ "Season review: Sam Mitchell".
  29. ^ "SAM MITCHELL". Retrieved 29 June 2022.
  30. ^ "SAM MITCHELL". Retrieved 29 June 2022.
  31. ^ "Hawthorn's Sam Mitchell flags possible West Coast move in shock AFL trade". ABC Online. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 12 October 2016. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  32. ^ "Sam Mitchell now a West Coast Eagles player after trade deal struck with Hawthorn". Herald Sun. News Corp Australia. 14 October 2016. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  33. ^ Kagi, Jacob (2 August 2017). "Sam Mitchell announces AFL retirement to become West Coast Eagles assistant coach". ABC Online. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  34. ^ "SAM MITCHELL". Retrieved 29 June 2022.
  35. ^ "SAM MITCHELL". Retrieved 29 June 2022.
  36. ^ Kagi, Jacob (2 August 2017). "Sam Mitchell announces AFL retirement to become West Coast Eagles assistant coach". ABC Online. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 1 August 2022.
  37. ^ "Sam Mitchell". Hawthorn Football Club. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  38. ^ "Sam Mitchell". Hawthorn Football Club. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  39. ^ SEN (19 October 2018). "Sam Mitchell returns to Hawthorn as an assistant coach". Seven News. Retrieved 30 June 2022.
  40. ^ "Hawthorn announces future coaching plans". Hawthorn Football Club. Hawthorn Football Club. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  41. ^ "Clarkson free to look elsewhere as Hawthorn unveil coaching succession plan". 6 July 2021. Retrieved 17 April 2022.
  42. ^ "Succession plan is on: Clarko's Hawks era to end". 6 July 2021. Retrieved 17 April 2022.
  43. ^ "Clarkson to step down as senior coach at end of 2021". Hawthorn Football Club. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
  44. ^ "Clarkson may coach elsewhere after he and Hawthorn part ways". 30 July 2021. Retrieved 17 April 2022.
  45. ^ "AFL coach Alastair Clarkson to leave Hawthorn at the end of the season". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 30 July 2021. Retrieved 17 April 2022.
  46. ^ "AFL coaching bombshell as Alastair Clarkson quits Hawthorn". 30 July 2021. Retrieved 17 April 2022.
  47. ^ Robinson, Mark (13 July 2015). "Mitchell: Not my intention to hurt Fyfe". Herald Sun.
  48. ^ Beveridge, Riley (15 July 2015). "VIDEO: Sam Mitchell knees Ryan Griffen off the ball in third incident, revealed on Fox Footy's AFL 360". Fox Sports.
  49. ^ "Sneaky Sam throws out a knee". 4 July 2014.
  50. ^ Sheahan, Mike (1 May 2008). "Hawks under 'corking' scrutiny". Herald Sun.
  51. ^ Baldwin, Adam (11 June 2015). "Sam Mitchell uses his non-preferred foot more than any other AFL footballer". Fox Sports.
  52. ^ "Sam Mitchell". AFL Tables. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  53. ^ "Sam Mitchell's coaching profile". AFL Tables.
  54. ^ Butler, Steve (13 May 2017). "Sam plays up value of mum". The West Australian. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  55. ^ Langmaid, Aaron (5 May 2011). "Star Hawk's baby anguish". Herald Sun. Retrieved 7 November 2018.

External links[edit]