Sam Mitchell has officially left Hawthorn for the West Coast Eagles in a trade deal that involves a number of pick swaps.
The Hawthorn legend and pick 54 and 72 in the 2016 AFL Draft have headed West, while the competition heavyweights received picks 52, 70 and 88 in return.
The lack of compensation received by the Hawks was a surprise – Mitchell is a five-time best-and-fairest winner, a four-time premiership player, a premiership captain and the joint leading Brownlow Medal vote-getter of all time.
But Hawthorn were keen to gain space in their salary cap in their ongoing pursuit of Gold Coast’s Jaeger O’Meara and instigated the shock trade move themselves.
Welcome to West Coast, Sam Mitchell!!
— West Coast Eagles (@WestCoastEagles) October 13, 2016
Mitchell, who made his Hawthorn debut in 2002, said he was “very excited” to get started with the Eagles.
“I’m really glad that it’s all done and very excited to move over, get the family settled and get into it,” Mitchell told West Coast’s official website.
“My level of respect for the West Coast Eagles as a football club has been high for a long time.
“The fact the process was so smooth and seamless shows the level of professionalism and respect from all parties.
“The list is a really exciting one; I’m really looking forward to getting on the training track with some of their young up-and-coming players.”
Mitchell, who is set to become a coach at West Coast once his playing days are done as part of the deal, said he was initially focused on just playing good football and helping the Eagles achieve success.
“Clearly I’m coming over to play first and foremost to help win silverware for the football club,” he added.
“I’m coming for a good reason and I want success.
“I’m pretty passionate about the coaching and development side of the game as well, so in addition I hope I can help some of these young guys and we can make each other better players.”
Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson, who suggested the move to Mitchell, hailed the 34-year-old for his contribution to the football club.
“Sam has made an invaluable contribution to Hawthorn Football Club over the past 15 years,” Clarkson told Hawthorn’s website.
“As a past captain, 300 game player and a four time premiership player, Sam has cemented himself as a decorated servant of our club.
“He is very popular member amongst players, coaches and staff and we wish him, Lyndall, Smith, Emmerson and Scarlett all the best in their new adventure.”
Mitchell played 307 games for Hawthorn, averaging 26 disposals per match, and was a three-time All-Australian.