'Have to confront it': AFL star's 'nightmares' after gruesome injury

Superstar Hawthorn midfielder Tom Mitchell has opened up about his lengthy recovery from the gruesome broken leg he suffered in January.

Mitchell, the 2018 Brownlow Medalist, suffered the injury during pre-season training, and is yet to return to full training sessions at all.

While a round one return in 2020 isn’t off the table, Mitchell said he was still quite a long way from getting into contact drills, let along throwing himself into the fray in an actual game.

In an interview with the Herald Sun’s Sam Edmund, Mitchell said he’d been plagued by nightmares in the months after he broke his left tibula and fibula.

“I can’t compare it to anything else. It was pretty bad,” Mitchell said.

“For the first month or so I was waking up with a few nightmares,” he says.

“I was sleeping really poorly. I just kept replaying the incident in my head over and over and at night I’d wake up grabbing my leg as if it had just happened.”

Tom Mitchell of the Hawks thanks fans during the 2018 AFL round 18 match between Carlton and Hawthorn. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

The Hawthorn star, who looked to Western Bulldogs midfielder Mitch Wallis for guidance as he embarked on his rehabilitation, said getting back into full-contact training would be a massive hurdle for him to overcome.

“When I’m out in full-training again and trying not to think about the incident and getting into games and hitting bodies and colliding with people – that’s a hurdle I’ll have to overcome,” he said.

“I’ll have to confront it eventually.”

Fans left fuming over AFL's Anzac Day move

Anzac Day will feature four AFL matches in 2020, with the league also opting for a later start for the traditional Collingwood-Essendon clash.

The change to the marquee match was confirmed when the AFL released its much-anticipated fixture for the 2020 season.

"We spent a lot of time talking to Collingwood, Essendon and the RSL to make sure we give the day the respect that it deserves," AFL general manager of broadcasting Travis Auld said.

"We decided that there would be just one game in Victoria and the second thing was to make sure that that game had clear air and the best way to do that was to push the game back.

"We looked at a number of options but that's quite a popular timeslot and we felt it worked for everyone."

However the move hasn’t gone down particularly well with fans.

Many took to social media to suggest the 4.20 timeslot was way too late considering how many fans would be waking up early for dawn services, especially diggers and returned servicemen.

Others felt there were too many games scheduled and the tradition of the day was being ruined.