Brownlow medallist Tom Mitchell’s days as a record-breaking ball-winner look over beneath new coach Sam Mitchell.
The Hawthorn star has spent significantly much less time at centre bounces and within the midfield generally this season, with coach Mitchell eager to unfold the load and prioritise defensive operating.
It’s an attention-grabbing improvement, notably given the Hawks misplaced 11 of the 12 centre clearances when Tom Mitchell was in there towards Carlton final weekend.
Mitchell is the one participant in VFL/AFL historical past to twice common 35-plus disposals throughout a season, with Western Bulldog Jack Macrae having to enjoying two additional video games final 12 months to interrupt his all-time league disposals document.
The 28-year-old has nonetheless gained his share of the Sherrin in 2022, however his disposals have plummeted from 34.3 to 26.7 and his uncontested possessions and groundball-gets have additionally dipped.
Younger duo Josh Ward and Jai Newcombe have damaged into the midfield rotation, alongside stand-in captain Jaeger O’Meara, Mitchell and James Worpel, whereas Conor Nash was used as a cellular ruckman final week.
“It’s not that I don’t need that (Mitchell having huge numbers), however in the meanwhile that’s not what we’re after,” Sam Mitchell stated.
“We’re persevering with to evolve and make progress. We’re nonetheless a growing workforce trying to get higher every week and regardless of having a very good win in Adelaide in spherical 2, then dropping on the weekend, I nonetheless thought we made progress.
“We have to discover methods to not be 18th for centre bounces however we don’t wish to lose our defensive operating, which has held us in actually good stead. I believe we’re second at stopping turnover scores.
“We all know that’s a part of the sport that’s actually vital, which we’re targeted on to this point. However we are able to’t afford to be 18th for clearances for the entire 12 months, so we’ll proceed to evolve.”
Mitchell pointed to O’Meara enjoying a defensive position on Carlton skipper Patrick Cripps final week for instance of the best way his gamers, together with Mitchell, had been sacrificing their particular person video games for the larger good.
He conceded Tom Mitchell had “a distinct position” towards the Blues, along with his recreation time up ahead this season spiking to 29 per cent from 10 per cent final 12 months.
That has resulted in Mitchell’s metres gained and rating involvements each going up.
Chad Wingard (calf) shall be out for not less than Saturday’s conflict with St Kilda and probably longer however Mitchell was assured Jack Scrimshaw (scapula) would get better in time to play.
A call shall be made on whether or not to recall Jarman Impey (ankle/foot) after enjoying three quarters within the VFL final week.
“(Wingard) bought stepped on within the first quarter and he tried to maintain going however he bought by way of the sport and it seems like there’s a little bit of different harm in there,” Mitchell stated.
“However, simply on the scans, it’s fairly onerous to inform when there’s a lot blood round it. So, we’re longing for subsequent week, however we’ll know extra then.”
Mitchell wouldn’t reveal who would get the massive job on St Kilda goal Max King however praised the Saints unfold of expertise, saying there was “not many chinks of their armour”.