2014 Games Played: 6
2014 SuperCoach Average: 83.8
Projected 2015 SuperCoach Average: 95-100
Bye Round: 12
If there was a more consistent and prolific ball-winner in any league in any state than Tom Mitchell’s 2014 campaign in the NEAFL, then you can forgive yourself if you’ve missed him, because we all have! If you try describing Mitchell’s season to anyone, you’ll quickly run out of superlatives, because it was nothing short of phenomenal. However, those who pay close attention to the NEAFL will tell you it wasn’t anything that they didn’t expect from the young Swan.
Across the last three seasons in the NEAFL, Mitchell averaged 30 disposals, culminating in a SuperCoach average of 134 during that period. Last year during his third NEAFL game of the season, Mitchell put on a show. His numbers that day? 64 (no that’s not a typo; 64) disposals – 24 of those contested – 12 clearances, 14 inside-50’s, four goals and – wait for it – 270 SuperCoach points.
It’s the type of score that would make you tear out your own hair if your opponent had him as captain. But for all the hoo-ha that the AFL is a sizeable step up in class from the NEAFL, Mitchell is no stranger to scoring well on the big stage either. In his last game of the season in 2014 he scored 121 against Richmond in Round 23, and in 2013 as a 19-year-old, Mitchell topped the ton four times, with a score of 99 and three other scores of 80+ in 14 matches.
The great thing for SuperCoaches is that Mitchell’s lack of AFL action last year sees him start this one at a juicy price of just $405,600. For a laugh, Shaun Higgins, Cam Pedersen and Hayden Ballantyne will all set you back more, and out of the 59 games the three of them played combined last season, only 11 centuries were recorded. We are already well aware of Mitchell’s scoring potency, and at that discount price you have no excuse to leave him out of your squad. Well, alright, you have ONE excuse, and we’ll get to that right now…
There is no doubt that if Mitchell can get some games in this Sydney side he will certainly reward you with some handsome scores, but that does remain a big ‘if’. It’s hard enough cementing a spot in the midfield of an AFL club at the best of times, but when you have company such as Josh P Kennedy (113.9 pt average), Jarrad McVeigh (104.5), Luke Parker (108.5), Kieren Jack (102.7) and Daniel Hannebery (101.0) to compete with, that just makes it all the more difficult. Of all those names, Parker is the one with the most comparable playing style to Mitchell – the floating half-forward who often pushes into the midfield with great effect – and is subsequently one of the main reasons Mitchell struggles to crack the Sydney squad. There’s no doubting his scoring capabilities, but the question is is he good enough to leapfrog the aforementioned names?
Also, for someone who can play forward with decent results Mitchell doesn’t score very many goals. Last season he scored 2.2 from six games. In 2013 Mitchell had a better goal average, but a far worse accuracy. In 2014 Mitchell averaged 0.3 goals a game with a 50% accuracy rate, but in 2013 Mitchell averaged 0.78 goals per game at just 39.3% accuracy. Mitchell will no doubt have to improve on his goal-kicking stats in order to boost his scores.
Tom Mitchell is going to be a very, very good player some day, it’s just a matter of when. Like all line-ball decisions in SuperCoach at this stage of the year, it’s difficult to justify either way whether Mitchell is a must in your team, therefore it’s paramount to observe a) what role Mitchell plays in the pre-season and b) how well he plays it. If he does a good enough job, John Longmire is going to find it very difficult to leave him out of the season opener against Essendon. Remember, Mitchell turned down a BIG move to Carlton in the off-season so he could fight for his place at the Swans. He has a point to prove, so don’t be surprised if he comes out all guns blazing in 2015.
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