Hawthorn champion Sam Mitchell’s speculated move back to the Hawks as an assistant has been made official on Friday.
After a decorated career with Hawthorn that saw him play 307 games, including four premierships (one as captain), win the 2012 Brownlow Medal, claim five best-and-fairests, earn three All-Australian jumpers, take out the 2003 Rising Star award and skipper the club for three seasons, Mitchell signed a four-year deal with West Coast as a player and coach at the end of 2015.
The 36-year-old played one season with the Eagles, featuring in another 22 games and helping them reach the 2017 finals series, before retiring and joining their coaching staff this year.
After assisting West Coast claim their fourth premiership in 2018, Mitchell decided to break his contract with two years remaining to fulfil his desire of moving back to Melbourne for family reasons.
"I’m really excited to return to Hawthorn, a true family club, and it feels really special to get back to the place I spent 15 years of my playing career,” Mitchell said.
“Perth is a great place, but it became apparent that with the heavy travel commitments, and living in an isolated city away from our support network, was not conducive with a young family. I spoke to West Coast mid-year and explained my intention.
“(Eagles football manager) Craig Vozzo was so supportive and we worked together to ensure that this would not be a distraction for the players. I am glad we did, as finishing my two years at West Coast with a premiership was a special experience.”
In other assistant coach recruitment news, former Hawthorn star Chance Bateman and West Coast midfielder Matt Rosa have joined the Eagles’ coaching staff.