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Modest Mitchell plays down achievements

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.”

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs