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Swans prove 'premiership window' is wrong

Mitchell Joe Barton, AAP  February 9, 2013 12:45 PM

AFL 2013 Training - Hawthorn 300113

Sam Mitchell says he still feels like a 25-year-old

I'm 30, but I still feel like I'm 25, so hopefully I can play for another five or six years
THE REMARKABLE rise of the Sydney Swans to the AFL premiership last year ended whatever theories revolved around clubs having a premiership window.

So says veteran Hawthorn midfielder Sam Mitchell.

The Hawks, with an ageing core, may be forgiven for thinking they'd missed a vital chance to cash in another premiership to go with their 2008 triumph - and make the most out of a golden group of talent.

"I think the whole concept of premiership windows has been thrown out the window so to speak by the way Sydney has gone about their list development," Mitchell told AAP.

"We certainly don't talk about that sort of stuff.

"We just try and be as successful as we can in the time we've got.

"Everyone's time comes to an end.

"I'm 30, but I still feel like I'm 25, so hopefully I can play for another five or six years."

After adding key defender Brian Lake (Western Bulldogs), the Hawks are again heavy premiership favourites.

Pre-season favouritism is a millstone that has burdened countless teams in years past, but if Mitchell's attitude is anything to go by, it's not likely to affect the Hawks this season.

The former skipper plans to remind his team on a weekly basis that their performances last year, which led them to the minor premiership, will not be acceptable in 2013.

And if they continue with the sort of football which swept them to the grand final, Mitchell warned they'd be unlikely to feature in September at all.

"If we think our performance from last year, across the course of the year, is good enough then we're probably not even going to make the top eight," Mitchell said.

"Everyone else is improving and if we think the level of our performance last year is going to be good enough, it's not.

"We need to do the same as everyone else and keep improving. You can never stay stagnant.

"We've got to try and get better, try and improve and try and go 11 points better than we did last year."

One man pleased to see the 195cm Lake arrive at Waverley Park is defender Josh Gibson, who is keen to have a role free from guarding the game's monster full forwards.

"In terms of that tall defender, I'm rapt," Gibson told AAP.

"He's going to take on some of those gorillas, which is helpful."

Gibson said the team didn't take long to get over the 10-point grand final loss to the Swans, adding they were ready to reload for another shot this season.

"You want to play at the top and play in grand finals, and obviously they're not all going to go your way," he said.

"You have to deal with the losses (but) there's a lot of other teams that were wishing they could play.

"Obviously it wasn't the greatest outcome, but you lick your wounds, you review the game, and you come back in 2013 and do what you can to try and give yourself another chance of playing in a granny again."