Main content

Sam Mitchell second only to 'Lethal' after fifth Hawks B&F

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 16: Sam Mitchell of the Hawks in action during the 2016 AFL Second Semi Final match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Western Bulldogs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 16, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)
Sam Mitchell has claimed his fifth Peter Crimmins Medal, second only to Leigh Matthews' eight awards

STAR midfielder Sam Mitchell has taken out Hawthorn's best and fairest for a fifth time.

He passed Shane Crawford, Jason Dunstall and John Kennedy snr as four-time winners of the Peter Crimmins Medal and trails only Leigh Matthews, who was named club champion eight times.

Mitchell, 33, previously won the Peter Crimmins Medal in 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2012. 

He finished with 170 votes, ahead of Jordan Lewis (157) and Shaun Burgoyne (156), in a function at Crown Palladium on Saturday night.

"The last few years have obviously been something special but I think the next few years are going to be something new and something still pretty special," Mitchell said.

"If you look at the history of this football club, it's had success for the last 50-plus years, and I think that's going to continue." 

He acknowledged the support of his coaches and made special mention of stoppage coach Cameron Bruce.

"I couldn't get a kick against Sydney earlier this year, the first time we played them," he said.

"Cameron Bruce, who's not really my line coach, watched every minute of that game for me and said 'These are the opportunities you had in the game where you didn't get involved and where I think you can play better and you can help the team.'

"That's not part of his job description. That's something he does off his own bat."

Mitchell had 15 disposals that night as Hawthorn fell 14 points short of the Swans in round nine.

It was yet another stellar season for Mitchell, who has shown little sign of slowing down despite his age. He played all but two games and averaged just shy of 30 disposals per game.

His excellent form saw him named in the All Australian squad of 40. The best and fairest capped a season in which he became the leader (with Gold Coast's Gary Ablett) for most career votes polled in the Brownlow Medal, with 220.

While Mitchell has never won the Brownlow, that prestigious honour could be headed his way if Jobe Watson is stripped of the 2012 medal. In that case, Mitchell and Richmond skipper Trent Cotchin, who finished equal second behind Watson, would share the Brownlow.

Drafted at No.36 in 2001 after being overlooked by recruiters in 2000, he signed a one-year deal earlier this season to play on in 2017.

He notched up his 300th game in Hawthorn's round 18 win against Richmond.

The Peter Crimmins Medal is voted on by coach Alastair Clarkson and three of his assistants: Brett Ratten, Adem Yze and Damian Carroll. Players can be awarded up to 16 votes per game.

Out-of-contract defender Kaiden Brand was named best first-year player, Isaac Smith was best clubman, Shaun Burgoyne was best player in finals, Grant Birchall was most consistent and James Sicily was most promising player. 

Jarryd Roughead and Brad Hill were in attendance at the function. While former football manager and newly appointed Brisbane Lions coach Chris Fagan wasn't there, he came to see the players earlier on Saturday.

Clarkson gave Hill a touching farewell, with the wingman set to depart to Fremantle to play with his brother Stephen.

"The only way we'd let him leave is for one reason, and that's family," Clarkson said.

"I love you like a son."

Peter Crimmins Medal Top 10
1. Sam Mitchell – 170 votes
2. Jordan Lewis – 157
3. Shaun Burgoyne – 156
4. Grant Birchall – 152
5. Cyril Rioli – 148
6. Isaac Smith – 146
7. Jack Gunston – 142
8. Josh Gibson – 135
9. James Frawley – 127
10. Luke Breust – 124