AFL 2021: Hawthorn Hawks star Tom Mitchell wins third Peter Crimmins Medal

Jasper BruceNCA NewsWire
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Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: News Corp Australia

Hawks star Tom Mitchell has won his third Peter Crimmins Medal as the best & fairest player of the Hawthorn Football Club.

The honour capped off a stellar season for the 28-year-old — Mitchell racked up an average of 34.3 disposals per game in 2021 and was the only Hawk named in this year’s 40-man All-Australian squad.

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Mitchell polled 161 votes in the count, well ahead of Blake Hardwick (126) and Jaeger O’Meara (121) in second and third place, respectively.

“There have been so many great players who have come before the current playing group of this great club, it’s a nice recognition for some hard work,” Mitchell said.

“I think coming from a pretty disappointing year last year in 2020, we wanted to climb the ladder.

“Obviously the first half of the year was a bit of a struggle for us, we didn’t play too well but from then on I think we really showed some true character.

“The playing group was amazing, we won six games in the back-half of the year and had a few draws against some quality opposition – I think that is really exciting for next year and beyond.”

The only Hawk nominated for the AFL Rising Star Award this year, Jacob Koschitzke was named the Hawks’ Best First Year Player.

Geelong v Hawthorn
Camera IconKoschitzke played 20 games in his debut season. Pic: Michael Klein Credit: News Corp Australia

The 21-year-old credited the support of those at the club, especially assistant coaches Sam Mitchell and Craig McRae, for his breakout year.

“I’ve been able to play a little bit more to my strengths which is good,” he said.

“I think I was getting caught in my own head a little bit too much, but now I’m just going and playing on instinct which is good.

“I’ve surprised myself, I didn’t think it would happen as quickly – it has been a good ride.”

Elsewhere, Ben McEvoy claimed the award for Best Clubman in his first year as Hawks captain.

McEvoy said he was “humbled” to have received the award.

Defender Sam Frost was named Hawthorn’s Most Consistent Player. He was one of only four Hawks to play every game of the club’s 2021 campaign.

“It was nice to play every week and have some consistency in my performance,” he said.

“For me, it’s just been about focusing on the task at hand and taking it a day at a time.”

The award for Most Improved Player went to fan favourite Changkuoth ‘CJ’ Jiath, who had played just seven AFL games prior to 2021.

Injury cut Jiath’s season short, but not before he earned a reputation for his athleticism and knack for taking intercept marks.

“Last year, we didn’t really like where we were as a team and certainly for me I didn’t like where I was,” he said.

“It took a lot of hard work in the pre-season, with not only me, but my teammates and the whole footy club as well to try to fast-track our progress.”

Originally published as AFL 2021: Hawthorn Hawks star Tom Mitchell wins third Peter Crimmins Medal

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