The Sydney Swans have been taken down by a brutal truth bomb after Tom Mitchell won the Brownlow Medal on Monday night.
Mitchell polled maximum votes in the first three rounds of the season on the way to a total of 28, claiming an unassailable lead after 21 rounds and outpolling Steele Sidebottom (24) and Melbourne young gun Angus Brayshaw (21) for the gong.
Mitchell’s victory has succeeded in exposing the shocking blunder the Swans made in trading him to Hawthorn.
According to AFL 360 hosts Mark Robinson and Gerard Whateley, it will go down as one of the worst trades of all time.
“It’s being described by Gerard Healy — and I agree with him wholeheartedly — as one of the worst trades in the history of trading,” Robinson said on Tuesday.
“It’s easy to be a bit melodramatic when I say that, but he just won the Brownlow Medal.
“In the same period of time Daniel Hannebery is leaving to go to St Kilda … two years ago, you have faith in your Grand Final players.
“There wasn’t a lot of money involved — the money was tight — and Tom left.
“The Swans will be thinking right now: ‘It was a bad decision — a bad, bad decision’.”
Mitchell played 65 games in five seasons for the Swans, but despite playing all 26 games in 2017, left for more playing opportunities in the midfield.
“It was during the 2016 season and I obviously loved my time at the Swans and we had a pretty strong campaign that year, just losing the Grand Final to the Western Bulldogs,” Mitchell told SEN Radio.
“I remember throughout the year I was very invested with the club and some of my mates are there and still are there, so I really wanted to win that premiership.
“I just had a funny feeling during the year that I lacked opportunity… I was either playing in the reserves, and the games I was in the seniors I’d come off the bench every quarter or play low game time.
“I had a little bit more to offer – fortunately enough an offer came from Hawthorn to come and play a role in the midfield.
“I’d always wanted to come back to Melbourne eventually anyway so it felt like the right fit at the time.”
Whateley said Sydney’s decision was “clearly” a bad one.
“The parallels with Josh Kennedy — couldn’t get a game in the Hawthorn midfield, takes the opportunity and builds a stellar career, (Mitchell) couldn’t get the opportunity he was after in the Sydney midfield, crosses over and wins a Brownlow,” Whateley said.
“Sydney ended up getting Ollie Florent and Will Hayward out of it … good potential, but they’re never going to break-even on that trade.”
Mitchell, who also won the AFL Players’ Association most valuable player award, averaged a league-high 35.7 disposals and 7.9 clearances per game during the home-and-away season and ranked third for contested possessions.
The ball magnet tipped the 50-disposal mark twice, including a record 54-disposal outing against Collingwood in round one.