An essential component of Hawthorn’s resurgence and a Premiership captain, Sam Mitchell has carried himself with maturity beyond his years in the formative seasons of his career.
An essential component of Hawthorn’s resurgence and a Premiership captain, Sam Mitchell has carried himself with maturity beyond his years in the formative seasons of his career. The dynamic midfielder finds the football with ease and has accumulated a raft of awards as a result. A dual best and fairest winner at the Eastern Ranges, Mitchell was overlooked at the 2000 National Draft. A brilliant season as part of the Box Hill Hawks VFL Premiership in 2001 put recruiters on further notice of his ability, with Hawthorn selecting Mitchell with pick 36 at the 2001 National Draft. Mitchell played nine AFL games in his debut season, still spending enough time in the VFL to record a remarkable win in the JJ Liston Trophy. In 2003, Mitchell stamped himself as a class player with victory in the NAB AFL Rising Star and back-to-back ‘Most Determined’ awards at Hawthorn. Since then Mitchell has continued his consistently high output, dominating at the clearances and developing into a key leader of the young Hawks. This ascension culminated in his win in the Hawks’ 2006 Best and Fairest.
Named the new captain of the Hawks for 2008 after a high Brownlow finish in 2007, Mitchell joined a select group to have led their club to a Premiership in their first year as skipper. He also collected The Age Player of The Year award. In a difficult 2009 for the Hawks, Mitchell was a shining light, winning his second Peter Crimmins Medal. At the end of the 2010 season Mitchell handed the captaincy over to teammate Luke Hodge. Going from strength-to-strength, Mitchell finished second in the Brownlow Medal in consecutive seasons in 2011-12 and made it four Peter Crimmins Medals – equalling club great Shane Crawford. In the wake of Jobe Watson losing his 2012 Brownlow Medal, equal second place-getters, Trent Cotchin and Sam Mitchell were awarded the game’s highest individual honour.
2013, 2014 and 2015 saw Mitchell win successive premierships with the Hawthorn Football Club. Across those three seasons, Mitchell collected an average of 29.21 disposals a game whilst kicking a collective of 14 goals. He was a dominant midfielder who consistently performed at the highest of ability. 2016 was a further display of ability and class by Mitchell, playing 22 games and collecting an average of 29.63 disposals. Simply outstanding. In the wake of the 2017 season, Mitchell moved to Perth where he joined the West Coast Eagles in what would be his last year of AFL football. Despite his maturing age of 35, Mitchell still played elite football, finishing the season with an average of 26 disposals from 22 games. Following his retirement from AFL football, Mitchell helped the Eagles win their fourth Premiership from the coaches box as an Assistant Coach during the 2018 season. Mitchell returned to Hawthorn for the 2019 season to work under mentor Alastair Clarkson, and in 2021 will oversee the club’s development program as Head of Development and coach of Hawthorn’s VFL side. Having played 329 games, Mitchell has lead his way onto football’s major TV and radio programs, where his sophisticated but relaxed personality is on display. Furthermore, he is an accomplished public speaker and at ease as a key note presenter.