Sydney star Luke Parker says fellow Swans midfield dynamo Tom Mitchell has been a major reason for their AFL success this year and hopes he will stay at the Swans despite interest from Hawthorn.
Mitchell remains the one prominent unsigned Swans player for next year and he could be a victim of a salary-cap squeeze.
Mitchell and Gold Coast’s Jaeger O’Meara have both been strongly linked with moves to the Hawks.
The son of former Swans favourite Barry Mitchell, 23-year-old Tom Mitchell has enjoyed a breakout year after struggling to cement a regular place in his early seasons with the club.
Mitchell has averaged 28 disposals a game and established himself as a vital member of a deep Swans’ midfield rotation, with his inside work especially valued.
“I hope he stays, I’m sure him and the club will sort it out the next few weeks,” Parker said at the Swans’ Mad Monday celebrations.
‘He has been a massive contributor, a big reason why we’re so successful this year.
“With all those young blokes coming through, playing their role and really taking their game to another level.
“We’ve seen Tommy just getting better every year.”
Mitchell was again one of Sydney best in Saturday’s grand final loss to the Western Bulldogs, tallying 26 touches, 13 tackles and two goals.
The Swans were left to reflect on an ultimately unfulfilling season, failing to finish the job on the weekend after winning the minor premiership.
“To have the opportunity to win and not take it is pretty shattering but at the end of the day that’s football,” Parker said,
“We move on and we improve and we look forward to next year and hopefully get another opportunity.”
Asked which areas Sydney could improve in, Parker said ‘We’ve shown that our best is very competitive..
“It’s more the consistency of having the high standard every week and the same mindset coming in every week.
‘It’s hard to do over the course of the season, but we saw in the two finals leading up to the grand final we were really ruthless out there and pretty brutal and our pressure was huge.
“To then go in to the grand final we were a little it off in that area.”