Sport AFL Sam Mitchell: ‘We can’t play that badly again’

Sam Mitchell: ‘We can’t play that badly again’

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Hawthorn veteran Sam Mitchell feels his team’s AFL qualifying-final loss to West Coast may be a blessing when they meet again in the grand final on Saturday.

The defending champion Hawks were rocked by the Eagles in week one of the finals, suffering a 32-point loss.

Mitchell said it did not damage their confidence but put them on guard for the MCG decider where they will strive for a three-peat of titles.

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“Clearly it shows us that they can beat us and that’s probably not a bad thing,” former skipper Mitchell said.

“We take a little bit of confidence in that we can’t play that badly again.”

Mitchell, who finished third in the Monday night’s Brownlow Medal behind Fremantle’s Nat Fyfe, said his team played a brand of football suited to finals.

He felt the group’s maturity and enthusiasm added to the mix.

“When you bring those things together I would say we’re well-placed.”

Mitchell, who is tipped to move into coaching when he retires, said he was not concerned about any inside knowledge West Coast had with their coach Adam Simpson, who was a Hawthorn assistant when they won the grand final in 2013

“It works both ways because he’s going to know a lot about us but we know a lot about him and we have an understanding of some of the stuff he’s implemented,” the 32-year-old said.

“But to be honest I don’t think the grand final is going to be about intel (intelligence), it’s going to be about the way the players play and attitude they bring.”

Mitchell said his team had overcome some significant obstacles during the 2015 season to put themselves in the position for a third straight flag.

He spoke of the recent accidental death of the teenage son of assistant coach Brett Ratten as well as forward Jarryd Roughead’s cancer scare.

“Roughy missed a couple of games and that’s what people talk about but he had cancer and that’s significant.

“That’s something that’s pretty close to home … but if you have nothing go wrong I don’t think that’s necessarily a good thing.

“Having a little bit of that in your system, giving you perspective isn’t a bad thing going into a finals campaign.”

Mitchell said he could not say whether that meant this grand final would mean more than others.

“You can’t sit back and judge them until after they’re done.”


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