Hawthorn have confirmed they considered sending star midfielder Jordan Lewis to Melbourne but insist he remains a required player after the bombshell decision to trade fellow veteran Sam Mitchell.
Mitchell’s shock AFL move to West Coast was completed on Friday, the gun onballer joining the Eagles following 15 years and four premierships with the Hawks.
The Hawks will effectively receive pick No.88 in exchange for the 34-year-old – a staggering win for the Eagles, who also agreed to swap late draft picks, considering Mitchell is coming off a season in which he topped the Hawks’ best and fairest count for the fifth time.
Mitchell’s manager has said the three-time All-Australian was “blindsided” by coach Alistair Clarkson suggesting a trade to West Coast, a discussion widely thought to have been driven by Hawthorn’s need to clear space in their salary cap.
Talk quickly turned to the future of fellow veteran Jordan Lewis, who sounded out interest from Melbourne after a similar discussion with Clarkson about his future.
Hawthorn list manager Graham Wright on Friday confirmed the two clubs had spoken about Lewis but insisted the 30-year-old would be staying put “at this stage”.
“He had an open and honest conversation with Clarko a couple of weeks ago about what his future would look like,” Wright told reporters.
“As of yesterday afternoon, we decided we really didn’t want Jordan to go anywhere.
“From his point of view it’s about exploring what might be out there for the future but he’s a contracted and required player.”
The Demons met with Lewis’ management on Friday and are understood to remain hopeful of getting a deal done for the veteran.
Mitchell, who racked up 307 games for the Hawks, will take a coaching role at West Coast at the end of his playing career and insisted there were no hard feelings between him and Clarkson.
“I know that everyone thinks Clarko’s a big mean wolf but I think he was actually looking out for me and seeing if he could help me out with my transition,” Mitchell told AFL trade radio.
“I’m now a West Coast Eagle, as strange as that feels to say, so I can’t speak on behalf of Hawthorn anymore … (but) they couldn’t have treated me with any more respect and transparency throughout this whole period.”
Clarkson said the former captain’s contribution to Hawthorn over his 307 games had been invaluable.
“Sam has cemented himself as a decorated servant of our club,” Clarkson said.
The Hawks need to clear space in their salary cap for star recruit Tom Mitchell, key forward Ty Vickery and trade target Jaeger O’Meara.
Wright said O’Meara was the only player the Hawks were actively pursuing but further work was needed before a deal could be struck.