What the Sam Mitchell trade means

Sam Mitchell’s shocking trade to the West Coast Eagles has a lot of meaning in my perception.

It has been reported that Mitchell had discussed a coaching position with West Coast; such discussions and negotiations happen in the footy world.

Seeing a future career is needed in our lives and acting for the future is reasonable.

Shocks came on Wednesday after Mitchell revealed that Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson suggested he move to the Eagles, and that he had not asked to be traded.

By learning footy in a different club as a player, he could gain more knowledge to be an assistant coach for Eagles straight after his retirement. But is it the right time for the 34-year-old player to do so?

And why not learn as an assistant coach at Hawthorn with Clarkson, the four time premiership coach? Is it because of strong bond between Clarkson and Adam Simpson, the West Coast senior coach?

In order be a top senior coach, being an assistant coach is seen to be essential. But he also has to coach his own team in lower level before coaching an AFL club. Clarko and Luke Beveridge, the Western Bulldogs premiership coach, are the good examples.

As a bloke with young family, moving to Perth and back to Victoria would affect his children. They will start school in Perth and have to switch the school in Victoria. They will have to say good bye to their precious friends. Is it good for them? I don’t think so.

Another factor is salary cap. By releasing Mitchell, Hawthorn can afford to get young good players. They have got Tom Mitchell from Sydney Swans and are trying to secure Jaeger O’Meara from Gold Coast.

This similar to Nick Dal Santo leaving St Kilda so that the club was able to rebuild with young players.

Hawthorn supporters are unhappy with the trade. I imagine they want Sam Mitchell to be a loyal, one-club player. Are their feelings are similar to St Kilda supporters’ anger with Ross Lyon, who left the the Saints for Fremantle so controversially.

If I were a list manager at Hawthorn, I would keep Mitchell.

Who will be the winner? Let’s see next year.

Meanwhile, I would like to hear your thoughts please.

About Yoshihiro Imagawa

Love, passion and pride are seen on the footy that is the biggest part of my life. 1. St Kilda Club member: I am a passionate and crazy Sainter. Just hope we will win the second flag soon, especially after Dogs and Tigers having ended long premiership draughts. 2. The Osaka Dingoes Player and Public Relations Officer: Player number 44 that I chose to honour Stephen Milne with my wish being like a small forward like him. Lenny Hayes' hardworking attitudes are adopted on my trainings and practices. Nick Riewoldt's great plays are in my player audiobook too. 3. Writing: Here on the Almanac and also on the World Footy News. My skills utilise on great footy websites.


  1. I think part of the disappointment for fans Yoshi is losing a much loved player still at the top of his game. The other part is losing him for no perceptible return. I think the Hawks might have been a bit more forthcoming with their member relations. It must be all the more bewildering watching this unfold from afar.

  2. Neil Anderson says

    Not wishing to be too cynical Yoshi, I think this move to the Eagles would have been discussed as a possibility a long time ago. I would guess it was part of the Hawks forward planning during the pre-season. Clarkson and the list-managers at the Hawks are usually well ahead of the game and would have plans A, B, C and D in place for all players if they did win the 2016 grand-final and if they didn’t win the grand-final.
    Mitchell would have his immediate future mapped out well before Clarkson called around to see him on Brownlow night.
    Mitchell’s family would have had at least a year to get used to the idea of going to W.A.

  3. G’day JD and Neil,

    Thanks for your comments.

    JD – I agree with you that Hawthorn supporters are sad to see such a great player with good footy going. It seems hard to achieve winning the flag and providing good relations with fans.

    Neil – I had thought that Sam Mitchell had to leave the club to give more opportunities for young players for the future after the loss to your Bulldogs. And your perceptions about the list management are great. They make sense.



  4. Pete Granger says

    Yoshi, In a way Footscray have re-defined the immediate future of AFL. Young players who are fully committed, have great leg sped and intensity who overwhelm sides with their evenness, consistency and sheer intensity. Clarkson understands that a small number of brilliant, but comparatively sluggish senior players – propping up a larger group of less-effective players will not suffice into the future. Experience has been somewhat discounted in favour of exuberance! In particular, they may win games during the season, but cannot overwhelm teams such as Footscray in finals. There are two options. Drop to the bottom of the ladder to get draft picks, or top-up with star recruits through trading. Clarkson has opted for the latter. Mitchell relies on quick thinking and great acceleration (rather than great speed). He is still in great form, but approaching the age where his performance will rapidly decline. The Eagles may get one (very useful) season out of him. Thereafter, he gains experience as a coach in the Clarkson mould under Simpson. After several years there he may be ready to coach Hawthorn. He is a deep thinker, so he may turn out to be a good coach. I expect Clarkson wants Mitchell to initially coach players who are not former team-mates. This makes good sense. Clarkson is also looking to the future, and needs players in their late teens or early twenties to replace his older players. He is not going to achieve that hanging onto players into their mid-thirties. Releasing Mitchell helps in terms of buying younger replacement players. There is only one more season in Hodge. Perhaps not even one season for Gibson – who struggled this year. Perhaps one more season from Burgoyne. 1-2 seasons (max) from Lewis – who (despite enormous courage and presence) struggles with the speed of the modern game. There is also the loss of Hill to cover. Despite not being a good contested-ball player, he has great leg speed – which will be greatly missed. Mitchell is in the top 10 of all-time champions at Hawthorn. A soon-to-be Brownlow medallist. But all in all Clarkson (and Mitchell) have made the right decision. There will be more of the same in 12 months time. It is the only way to remain competitive in finals against younger, exuberant teams like Footscray.

  5. G’day Pete,

    Thanks for your detailed comment.

    To be competitive, trading veterans and getting young players are good. The Western Bulldogs have got talented and very fit young players and their good list led their second flag. Hawthorn seemed to wake up when ending their season with the loss to the Doggies. Then Mitchell had to go…

    And your thoughts on becoming the future Hawthorn coach are good. Lenny Hayes was a loyal Saint as a player, but is an assistant coach at GWS. Your thoughts on the future coaching career apply to Hayes too.



  6. Good call Yoshi on The Squawkers Yoshi. Let’s face it fellas, if Hawthorn hadn’t got out of gaol on six occasions during the season they would’t have even made it to the September Mix, let alone make a straight sets exit. It takes a lot to put an era together, and we doffs our lid to The Hawks, and all the heroes, who gave us one of the greatest ever. They’re in rebuild now. We know it, and they know it. They’ll be back, and I’m tipping that Slamming’ Sammy Mitchell will be their next Premiership Coach. A club that can move Jeffrey Gibb Kennett on after seven years without imploding knows a bit about succession.

    Lenny Hayes was a heady player and a great leader of men. He’d make a great St Kilda coach. But you’ve already got one Yoshi. Besides, we may need him at Punt Road yet.

  7. Aussie gus says

    It will be interesting as the proof will be in the pudding. No doubt it appears that hawthorn had gone over the summit this year

    Back in the deep dark past one K Sheedy got rid of two great clubmen in Carey and Bradbury for Richardson and Raines

    On paper it seemed that this would be a step forward for Essendon

    In reality it broke the spirit of the club after the success of 84/85

  8. Glen Hawker is another one.

  9. Good morning the Wrap,

    Thanks for making a positive comment.

    St Kilda could have won the game against Hawthorn in Launceston this year as well as could the Western Bulldogs. Then Demons won over Hawks. Hawthorn needs to move on positively from the three consecutive premierships. Then they need to train young players.

    I have just Googled Jeff Kennett. His works as a club president were great including making deals with Tasmania. One thing he should regret was his curse. Geelong has done well.

    Then the club knows how to establish eras.

    We have got a great senior coach – Richo. Hayes will be back to the club in the future as a senior coach after coaching experiences outside the club. He needs to coach his own in the lower level.

    Good luck with hunting a great coach for Punt Road.



  10. Daniel Flesch says

    I would’ve liked to see Hawthorn move on all three of Sam Mitchell , Hodge and Gibson . Now they’re keeping the latter two and look like losing Lewis . They’re also – the media say – going to trade Whitecross and Hartung to get O’Meara . All mistakes in my book , especially the hunting of O’Meara who is a big risk to even get on the field , let alone perform well should he make it there.
    Hawthorn list manager Graham Wright has shown himself to be adept to the point of brilliant in the past , but i wonder if , like the older Hawk stalwarts , he isn’t also past his prime.
    As an aside , could Mr. The Wrap kindly favour us with his opinion and prophecy of the wisdom and likely outcome of the move of the young Mr. Vickery from Punt Road to Arctic Park ?

  11. Hawks seem to be throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    They obviously need their 2nd tier to step up into leadership roles but surely the presence of the older hands to guide them is part of the necessary transition phase? And to lose your 1st & 2nd in the B&F for a bag of Twisties what’s more? Weird.

    There’s no guarantee Mitchell will make a great coach anyway.

  12. G’day guys,

    Thanks for your comments and different points of views.

    Gus and JTH – To be honest, I hadn’t known about what Kevin Sheddy had done while was in charge at Essendon. Also I didn’t realise about the spirit splits in club champions’ trades.

    Daniel – To be honest, I have no idea about O’Meara. It seems like St Kilda recruited Nathan Freeman. I don’t understand why we got Freeman…

    Jeff – Even Nick Riewoldt or Jack Steven has not been awarded with Brownlow, are we trading them? No. I can’t believe a Brownlow awarded champion was traded. Maybe it’s Hawthorn’s business?



  13. Fleschman, you’ve got yourself a deadeye dick with a very good pair of mitts. You watch him shine out under the Dingley Dell sun. He’ll be your best 2016 draft by far. Including the Mitchell replacement.

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