Hawthorne coach Alistair Clarkson has denied reports that the club are willing to trade star midfielder and former Brownlow medalist Tom Mitchell this summer.
The Clarkson Hawks may be embarking on what appears to be a long rebuild, but they secured their best win of the season by beating the Sydney Swans’ imposing 14. 5 (89) to 7. 9. (51) in the SCG.
After the win, Clarkson was asked about reports that Mitchell could trade with a Victorian rival, and that question made me laugh.
“Honestly, what do you think my answer to that question would be?” He said.
“It’s just pure speculation that comes up at this time of year with most guys, whether it’s Zack Merritt, Patrick Krebs, Tom Mitchell.
“One percent of it is true and the rest is rubbish, so I take 99 percent of the trash.”
Mitchell enjoyed his best season since his year at Brownlow in 2018, averaging 33.5 times per game and collecting 34 high touches against the Pelicans.
However, it wasn’t only Hawk who caught Clarkson’s and fans’ attention, as newcomer Jay Newcomb broke an NFL record after being selected in the mid-season draft.
The 19-year-old made an astonishing 14 tackles, the most debuts in VFL/AFL history, surpassing the 11 bests scored by Jack Graham and Rupert Wills.
“It’s very hard to tell if they’re going to make it to the first level if they’ll be able to handle the rigors of the game and the speed of the game,” Clarkson said of Newcomb’s debut.
“He’s been outstanding at Box Hill in the first six games of the year he’s played there.
“He’s just like that kid on the ground and he’s a country boy who loves his football and loves his teammates and we thought he was ready.
“We thought, what do we really have to lose? The first half of the year was disappointing and we needed to find some players.”
To make matters worse, young gunner Sam Wicks could face a suspension after a late high-head injury left Hawks young Will Day dazed in the third quarter.
It’s been a rough day for the Pelicans, with the high-powered attacking trio of Lance Franklin, Isaac Heaney and Tom Bubbly scoring just two goals between them.
Hawthorn will aim for back-to-back wins when they face Essendon in Round 14, while the Pelicans will enjoy a goodbye before facing Port Adelaide in Adelaide in Round 15.
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