Son of a gun a Rising Star
Swan Tom Mitchell is the round 11 NAB AFL Rising Star
THE FATHER-SON rule is one of the last bastions of tradition and romance in the AFL.
It's a rule that's had some refinement over the journey, but in this day and age, a father needs to play at least 100 games for a club to give a son the chance to follow in his footsteps.
Barry Mitchell played 170 games for the Sydney Swans during the 80's and 90's, allowing son Tom to continue the family legacy in the Harbour City.
And if his game from last weekend is any indication, young Tom is well on track to emulate his father’s deeds in the red and the white.
The 20-year-old collected 31 possessions, five marks, laid 10 tackles and kicked a goal in the premiers’ big win over Adelaide.
This standout performance in just his second game earned the tough inside midfielder the round 11 NAB AFL Rising Star nomination.
"I'm really honoured to be named the Rising Star this week, joining all great young players this year," Mitchell told AFL.com.au.
"The senior players helped me get in the right position and it was great to part of a really good win on the weekend."
Mitchell is quickly proving to be one of the steals of the 2011 draft, with the Swans only giving up pick 21 for the highly-skilled ball-magnet.
Mitchell’s ability to make an immediate impact hasn’t been lost on coach John Longmire.
"Tommy is certainly a talented player, but most importantly he is hard at the football and a really strong competitor," Longmire said.
"He did a good job for us in his first game coming in as the sub, and he was a good contributor again for us against Adelaide, particularly with his 10 tackles."
Injuries wrecked Mitchell’s season in 2012, with patella tendinitis and a foot stress fracture holding back his development.
But 2013 has been a very different story, with Mitchell's form seeing him rack up consecutive 50-plus possession games for the Swans' reserves prior to his debut against Essendon in round 10.
"There's a lot of quality guys to come back into the side, so hopefully I can build some form and maintain my place in the team," he said.
Mitchell hails from the Ashburton Football Club in suburban Melbourne, but also played for Western Australia in the NAB Under 18 Championships while Barry served as an assistant with Fremantle.
He taps into his father's vast experience at every possible opportunity.
"I'm grateful to have a dad like that who has a great knowledge of the game; it's really helped me along the way," he said.
"But we're different people, and I definitely want to make a name for myself."