Hawthorn coach Sam Mitchell is set to lead seven of his former teammates as he commences his first season in charge in 2022.
Mitchell departed the Hawks at the end of 2016 and spent one season at West Coast in 2017 before retiring and stepping into the Eagles coaches' box to oversee the midfield unit for their 2018 flag.
He then returned to the Hawks and spent two seasons as the club’s midfield coach across 2019 and2020 before leading Hawthorn’s VFL side Box Hill in 2021.
Seven players from Mitchell's last season as a Hawk in 2016 remain at the club this year.
Four of them share a special bond with the now-coach, having won multiple premierships together as teammates.
While having worked alongside each other for a three-year stint during their playing careers, Ben McEvoy and Mitchell also share a common honour of having captained the brown and gold.
Mitchell's triple-premiership teammates Liam Shiels and Luke Breust already have some experience working under him has a leader, having been captained by him in 2009 and 2010.
Former Hawk best and fairest Jack Gunston, who is due to turn 31 in Mitchell's first season in charge, is also a three-time premiership teammate of Mitchell’s.
Then there is Blake Hardwick, whose first year coincided with Mitchell's last, while James Sicily also enjoyed three seasons alongside Mitchell from 2014 to 2016, as did Daniel Howe in 2015.
Meanwhile, Tom Mitchell, Jai Newcombe, Lachlan Bramble and Jaeger O’Meara will also be stepping into familiar territory, having previously been coached by Mitchell during his stints at Hawthorn and Box Hill.
What's changed at the Hawks since 2016?
Best and fairest top three: Sam Mitchell, Jordan Lewis, Shaun Burgoyne
President: Andrew Newbold (now member of AFL Commission)
CEO: Stuart Fox (now CEO of MCC)
Football boss: Chris Fagan (now senior coach of Brisbane Lions)
Coaching panel: Alastair Clarkson, Brett Ratten, Cameron Bruce, Adem Yze, Damian Carroll, Damian Monkhorst, Chris Newman
Leading goals: Jack Gunston (51)