Tom Mitchell to ease back into AFL games

After just one AFL game in 20 months, Brownlow medallist Tom Mitchell admits it will be some time before he's back to his dominant best for Hawthorn.

TOM MITCHELL.
TOM MITCHELL. Picture: Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images

Even after an extra two months off, champion Hawthorn midfielder Tom Mitchell concedes it will be some time before he returns to his absolute best.

The prolific on-baller's only AFL game since winning the 2018 Brownlow Medal was the Hawks' round one clash against Brisbane in March at the MCG.

Mitchell gathered 25 possessions in an impressive return during Hawthorn's 28-point victory over last year's semi-finalists.

It was a welcome relief to get back out on the field after he spent all of last year recovering from a horrific broken left leg suffered in a freak training accident.

The 26-year-old said the COVID-19 enforced AFL shutdown had allowed him to build further strength in his body from the comfort of his home gym.

"The last couple of months have allowed me a little bit more time to condition it," he said on Wednesday.

"I'm only going to have played one game in over 20 months by the time round two comes back.

"I don't expect to be back to my best straight away but I've got confidence that I'll get back to my best, hopefully soon, but it might take a few games with that sort of record."

Mitchell has been leaning on mentor Greg Williams for advice after the two-time Brownlow medallist was stood down from his part-time skills coaching job at Carlton due to cost-cutting.

"He's (Williams) been someone I've always looked to for advice," Mitchell said.

"Not that it's regular, weekly and ongoing, but if I feel that I need some assistance with something, he's only a phone call away."

Mitchell said Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson was more excited than most upon discovering AFL games would restart on June 11.

"He had some dumbbells and he was doing bicep curls on the other end of the Zoom (video call) as if he was preparing to play and get his fitness better," he said.

"It got a good laugh out of the boys."


AAP