Mitchell re-signs with Hawks in AFL

Hawthorn have confirmed Sam Mitchell will continue his outstanding AFL career next season on a one-year deal.

They also announced on Friday that another former Hawks captain, Richie Vandenberg, will join their board.

Coach Alastair Clarkson had flagged a few days ago that Mitchell would re-sign.

It is more good news for the Hawks, who are top of the ladder in their mid-season bye week despite rarely hitting top form this year.

Mitchell took over from Vandenberg as Hawthorn captain in 2008 and led the team to that year’s premiership.

He guided the team for three seasons before Luke Hodge took over.

Mitchell is a four-time premiership player and three games short of his 300 milestone.

The 33-year-old, Hodge, Shaun Burgoyne and Josh Gibson are all over 30 and there has been plenty of speculation about how the Hawks will manage their playing futures this year as they chase a historic fourth-straight premiership.

Clarkson also said he would be surprised if Hodge did not continue playing next season.

Mitchell joked that this might be his sixth-consecutive one-year deal.

“I asked them for a three-yearer, but they knocked that on the head pretty quick,” he told the club website.

“I’m really happy to be going around again next year.”

Mitchell added being smart about his training had been a key to his longevity.

“Our footy club is really good at managing some of the older guys,” he said.

“I’m able to do just about all the training and being smart when I’m a little bit sore, just having a session off here or there.”

Meanwhile, club president Richard Garvey announced on Friday that Vandenberg would become a board member.

Vandenberg, captain of the Hawks from 2005-07 before retiring, is credited with playing a crucial role in turning around the team’s culture ahead of their current golden era.

After retirement, he served for a couple of seasons as the team runner.

But he has been busy away from football, running a family wine business.

“What I’m hoping to bring to the board is an understanding of the game and the footy landscape … and also be that cultural link through the changing eras we’re experiencing in football,” Vandenberg said.

Garvey said Vandenberg’s appointment was subject to the club’s October annual general meeting.

It has been a big couple of weeks for Vandenberg – last month, he was attacked at a bar in New York, but was not hurt seriously.

* All Offers and Promotions posted in this article excludes NSW residents.
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