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Modest Mitchell plays down achievements

hawthornfc.com.au  May 25, 2018 4:33 PM

Clarkson before the Eagles clash Alastair Clarkson spoke to the media this morning as the side prepares to take on ladder leaders the Eagles.

Superstar, 'A grade' midfielder, Brownlow contender - whatever you call him, he will shake his head and quietly continue about his ball-winning business.

In typical modest fashion, Tom Mitchell has played down his impressive disposal numbers, saying there are several areas in his game he is working to improve. 

The 24-year-old has started 2018 in emphatic style, currently leading the competition in disposals with 319 (at an average of 35.4 per game). 

“It’s a part of my game that’s a strength, but there’s a lot of deficiencies that I’m working on,” Mitchell told Triple M on Friday afternoon.

It’s been well-documented that Mitchell set the AFL record for the most touches in a match in Round 1 against Collingwood, when he amassed a whopping 54 disposals, but a lesser known fact is that the 2017 All Australian has soared past those heights before.

In 2014, Mitchell put on a 64-touch, four-goal display in the NEAFL while playing for Sydney – the most touches ever recorded at any level since Champion Data began collecting statistics in 2006. 

“We had a pretty big win that day,” Mitchell recalls.

“I’m not sure if the competition up there in the NEAFL was a strong as it might be in the VFL, so I can’t take too much credit for that.”

Again, modest. 

The Hawks come face to face with ladder-leaders West Coast on Sunday afternoon, with plenty of interest around whether or not Eagles Coach Adam Simpson will send a tag to the damaging mid. 

But, tag or no tag, Mitchell seems committed to personifying the “no I in team” mantra.

“When you get a bit more attention it can be a bit more challenging. 

“But it just comes back to being really disciplined with your role for that day. 

“Some days you might have to sacrifice yourself a bit more, other days you might be free to go and play your natural game.

“It goes in ebbs and flows a bit, but you’ve just got to do what the team needs on that day.” 

Read: Will Silk go around again?

The Hawks have slipped out of the eight for the first time this year, following a tough Round 9 loss to Brisbane. Yet, as Mitchell reiterates, “things in footy can change pretty quickly.” 

“If we get ourselves right for Sunday against West Coast and get a win, then we’ll be back in reasonable shape.”