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Star Hawks recruit handed legendary No.3 as numbers revealed

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 5: Tom Mitchell of the Hawks during the Hawthorn Hawks training session at the Ricoh Centre in Melbourne, Australia on December 5, 2016. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)
Tom Mitchell has taken Jordan Lewis' No.3 guernsey

THE NO.3 jumper is one of the most iconic at Hawthorn and in 2017 it will be sported by boom recruit Tom Mitchell.

The Hawks announced their new jumper numbers at a supporters' event on Saturday and the esteem in which they hold the former Sydney midfielder is confirmed by handing him the same jumper as Leigh Matthews, the club's greatest ever player. 

It had been worn for the last 11 seasons by champion midfielder Jordan Lewis, who was traded to Melbourne in October. Mitchell joined the Hawks during the NAB AFL Trade Period after a fine season with the Swans including a stellar finals series in which he was the club's second best player. 

"It's a huge privilege to get the No.3," Mitchell told supporters on Saturday. "There's a big history with Leigh Matthews a club legend and more recently Jonathan Hay and Jordan Lewis who's a four-time premiership player. I'm looking forward to wearing it."

The No.5, worn with distinction by Sam Mitchell for 13 seasons, is equally revered at Hawthorn because of the connection to Peter Crimmins, the former captain who died from cancer in 1976. 

Hawthorn also chooses that number carefully and after Mitchell's departure to West Coast, it will be worn next year by Ryan Burton, the 2015 first-round draft choice from South Australia who showed real talent in four games late in 2016 after a swift recovery from a serious leg injury. Burton’s father Craig also wore No.5 for North Adelaide in the SANFL where he was a dual premiership player.

Burton said he was shocked to be offered the number. "I'm going to try and wear it the best I can," he said. "Sam was a player who did more extras than anyone I know. The biggest thing I learned from him was staying back after training and doing extra work."

Bradley Hill's No.10 now belongs to Gold Coast recruit and fellow West Australian Jaeger O'Meara, who the Hawks hold high hopes for despite not having played for two years because of a major knee injury.

"I'm ticking all the boxes," O'Meara said. "Tommy and I have been doing some hard training together, living in each other's pockets. But it's all going to plan and I hope to be playing some early season footy."

Former Richmond forward Ty Vickery has inherited Matt Spangher's No.27 jumper, while Ricky Henderson, formerly of Adelaide, gets Zac Webster's No.31. 

Promising defender Dan Howe moves to No.17, made famous by club games record holder Michael Tuck and last worn by Angus Litherland. 

The Hawks have not had a player wear the No.1 jumper for several years and that will continue again in 2017. 

New 2017 Hawthorn numbers
3. Tom Mitchell
5. Ryan Burton
10. Jaeger O'Meara
17. Dan Howe
27. Ty Vickery
31. Ricky Henderson
35. Harry Morrison
39. Mitchell Lewis
42. Oliver Hanrahan
45. Conor Nash
46. James Cousins