Hawthorn’s home fixture against Sydney this season was a rare day when playing a game of AFL was the last thing Sam Mitchell wanted to do.
It came in the same week that teammate Jarryd Roughead had received his devastating cancer diagnosis.
“Probably, just about the hardest game was when we played Sydney at the MCG after finding out the news,” Mitchell remembered.
“It was one of those games – how can you play footy when you find out something like that?”
A few months later, everything has changed.
Mitchell is at West Coast and he officially became a Brownlow Medallist on Tuesday.
And best of all, Roughead has received the best-possible news about his melanoma treatment, with doctors saying he has had a complete response.
“I’m just so rapt for him – I can’t wait for him to get back out and play,” Mitchell said at Tuesday’s Brownlow presentation ceremony.
“It’s going to be one of the great moments of next season.
“Being able to have him back and healthy, regardless of the footy side of things, those things warm your heart.”
Roughead and Mitchell’s other ex-Hawks teammates were on the Sunshine Coast at a training camp and could not attend the Brownlow ceremony.
Mitchell wryly noted that coach Alastair Clarkson was not big on individual honours, hinting there was no way the Hawks were going to be allowed to fly down for the presentation.
While Mitchell added Clarkson had not sent him a congratulatory note, the Eagles’ recruit stressed they had parted on good terms.
“He’s up there flogging them in a training camp at the moment and I’m sitting here having a champagne,” Mitchell joked.
Mitchell added the move to Perth had gone smoothly for himself and his family, following his bombshell trade.
He admitted his wife Lyndall was initially sceptical, but relented when she saw the look on his face.