• Cotchin and  Mitchell awarded 2012 Brownlow Medal
• 'It hurts a bit', says Watson over medal return

RICHMOND captain Trent Cotchin and former Hawthorn champion Sam Mitchell have accepted the 2012 Brownlow Medal with "mixed emotions" after the AFL Commission ruled they would be named joint winners.

Cotchin, who enjoyed his finest season in 2012, becomes the Tigers' fifth Brownlow medallist and the youngest in club history, having played out the 2012 season as a 22-year-old.  

Mitchell adds the medal to his extensive trophy cabinet alongside his four premiership medallions and five club champion awards.

The 34-year-old becomes the Hawks' fifth Brownlow medallist and first since Shane Crawford in 1999.

Cotchin paid tribute to Essendon star Jobe Watson, who handed back the 2012 Brownlow Medal last week after failing to overturn charges arising from the Bombers' supplements program.

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"I accept the 2012 Brownlow Medal with mixed emotions," Cotchin said in a statement on Tuesday.

"But I also respect the decision of the AFL Commission and the award that is the Brownlow Medal.

"This has been a difficult time for Jobe, but I have great respect for him, and the decision he made in very tough circumstances."

• Read the AFL's full statement on the 2012 Brownlow Medal

Mitchell, who joined West Coast in the recent NAB AFL Trade Period, said he was torn by the circumstances but accepted the medal.

"I'm honoured to be named a Brownlow medallist today but at the same time I feel enormous empathy for Jobe Watson and his family," he said in a statement released by the Eagles.

Cotchin and Mitchell polled 26 votes in 2012 to finish joint runners-up, with Cotchin averaging a career-high 27.5 possessions and winning the Tigers' best and fairest award.   

Mitchell averaged 27.2 disposals that year and picked up his fourth Peter Crimmins Medal as the Hawks' best and fairest.

The Hawks paid tribute to their former star and congratulated him on his achievement.

"Sam made an invaluable contribution to the Hawthorn Football Club and departed a decorated servant," CEO Stuart Fox said.

"Over his 15 years at the club he amassed three All Australian honours (2011, 2013, 2015), won five Peter Crimmins Medals (2006, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2016) and played a key role in four premierships for the Hawks, including captaining the team to their win in 2008.

"He is a champion midfielder, a great leader, family man and a deserving recipient.

"On behalf of the club we would like to congratulate Sam on this achievement."

Richmond president Peggy O'Neal paid tribute to Cotchin for a fine 2012 season, which ended with his ascension to the Tigers captaincy.  

"We are proud of Trent, he's a fine captain, player and person, and he is now Richmond's fifth Brownlow medallist," O'Neal said.  

Champion midfielder Ian Stewart (1971) was Richmond's most recent Brownlow medallist, while ruckman Roy Wright won the prestigious award twice (1952, 1954).

Wingman Stan Judkins (1930) and former captain Bill Morris (1948) are the club's other winners.  

Mitchell, 34, joins Col Austen (1949), Robert DiPierdomenico (1986), John Platten (1987) and Shane Crawford (1999) as Hawthorn Brownlow winners.