Tom Mitchell lifts the lid on 'unprofessional' act that forced him out of Hawthorn

The Magpies midfielder has accused his former employers of driving him out of the AFL club.

Pictured left is Collingwood star Tom Mitchell.
Collingwood star Tom Mitchell has spilled the beans on his exit from former club, Hawthorn. Pic: Getty

Collingwood premiership winner Tom Mitchell has unloaded on his former club Hawthorn after lifting the lid on the reasons behind his split from the Hawks. In a less than flattering account of his time at the AFL powerhouse, Mitchell accused the club of being "unprofessional" and said he was unfairly targeted by coaching staff.

The Pies midfielder requested a trade away from Hawthorn at the end of the 2022 season, with the move paying instant dividends as the 30-year-old tasted premiership success in his first season with Collingwood. Mitchell won the 2018 Brownlow Medal with the Hawks but says he knew his time was up at the club in 2022 after claiming that he was frequently made out to be a scapegoat in team meetings.

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Speaking on his his Ball Magnets podcast, Mitchell revealed that he wanted to finish his career at Hawthorn but was forced to look elsewhere when it became clear he was no longer wanted. "I wanted to stay at Hawthorn for the rest of my career. I was content, happy," he said. "But certain things happened. I knew they wanted me out. I knew as soon as round one, round two. Some funny things happened.

"The coaches do a game-rating system out of five at Hawthorn, which they put on the walls for everyone to see after a game. I'm very close with all the Hawthorn players, we're very good mates.

"In round one, I think we played North, I was the only player in the team to get rated a one out of five. In round two we had a [64-point] win against Port Adelaide away. Great team win. I was the only player that got rated a two out of five or less. Only player in the whole team.

"The funniest thing about both of those games was I think I got Brownlow votes in both games, so I played pretty well. But there were some signs there. I'm like, 'Something's going on here, this is weird'."

Tom Mitchell (right) celebrates his premiership success with Collingwood after the 2023 AFL grand final. Pic: Getty
Tom Mitchell (right) celebrates his premiership success with Collingwood after the 2023 AFL grand final. Pic: Getty

Tom Mitchell slams 'unprofessional' Hawthorn act

He went on to detail one meeting in particular - which some of the players have coined the 'Tom Mitchell game review' - in which the former Hawk claims he was brutally singled out by the coaching staff. The 30-year-old described it as "unfair" and said he knew after that meeting that he wanted out of the club.

"There was a meeting in particular, a game review, a chat with Dylan Moore, Finn Maginness, Will Day, these guys who are some of my good mates still. We call it the Tom Mitchell game review. That was the signed, sealed, delivered. I knew after that meeting I'm not coming back here next year, whatever happens I'm not coming to Hawthorn.

"There was a game review where there was something like five or so clips of just me. There were a few that were fair ... but I got barrelled in this meeting. All five clips, that was the meeting done, and I walked out of that thinking, 'Are you serious? This is unprofessional, unfair, made me feel like absolute sh*t in front of everyone', and that happened a few times.

"From that point onward I was just [thinking], 'I'm not coming back here', and I loved Hawthorn. I still do. I had a lot of great times there. But that was when I knew I'm not coming back here."

Mitchell said "a fresh start was exactly what I needed" and is thrilled that his move to Collingwood reaped instant rewards. "I moved 12 months forward. It's easy to say now that we've won and can celebrate and these things, but I think regardless of if we won I'm just a much happier person with where I'm at in my life right now."

Mitchell was one of only four players - along with Josh Daicos, Isaac Quaynor and Jack Crisp - to feature in every game for the Magpies in the 2023 season. He was drafted by Sydney in 2013 - a year after their last premiership - and played in the Swans' 2016 losing grand final side before moving to Hawthorn from 2017 to 2022.

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