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Mitchell not focused on numbers

Marc McGowan  May 24, 2017 9:32 AM

50 in 50: Tom Mitchell Tom Mitchell racked up 50 disposals in one game of footy over the weekend, so we thought considering his lightning speed, why not look back at those disposals in 50 seconds.

Tom Mitchell has brushed off his latest and most spectacular dose of leather poisoning as insignificant because Hawthorn failed to win.

The competition's No.1 ball-winner amassed an AFL career-best 50 disposals, including 22 contested, on Saturday night to become one of just seven players in League history to reach the milestone.

Mitchell's feat, which came in a game the Hawks lost from 43 points up, sparked huge debate among coaches, commentators and especially keyboard warriors about how effective he was.

Not that Mitchell, who will return to Sydney to face his old teammates for the first time on Friday night, professes to have noticed.

Have your say: was Mitchell's 50-touch game impressive?

"It obviously doesn't mean a lot," he told AFL.com.au of his individual achievement in the wake of the fadeout loss to Collingwood.

"I don't read too much into the media or things like that, so I'm not too sure if there has been a lot of talk about it.

"I try and value the things my teammates and coaches want me to do and try to perform my role to the best of my abilities."

Magpies coach Nathan Buckley chose not to tag Mitchell despite him racking up double-digit possessions in each quarter.

Bucks, Clarko split on 50-touch Tom

Buckley defended his decision, saying Mitchell was not "hurting us a lot", although he later clarified his comments on Twitter to state the midfielder played an "amazing game".

Mitchell's new coach Alastair Clarkson praised his "special effort", while his former Swans coach John Longmire suggested he would find the football even if it was the last one on earth.

Much of the criticism of Mitchell's game centred on his lack of metres gained, with his total of 309m falling well short of Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury's 691m from his 36 touches.

Read: All Hawthorn's injury news ahead of Round 10

Hawks triple premiership defender Shaun Burgoyne has found the commentary around Mitchell's performance bemusing.

"It’s got me puzzled how he can cop so much criticism for having 50 possessions – I’ve never even gotten over 40," Burgoyne said.

"He works his backside off. He gets the ball. He's an inside, contested player who gets the ball out to our runners. That’s his job.

"A lot of his possessions were contested as well, so you can’t get a contested possession out to yourself and run and break the lines."