After 307 games for Hawthorn, five best and fairests, four premierships and three All-Australian honours, Sam Mitchell will depart the Hawks after being traded to the West Coast Eagles.
Before heading west, Mitchell passed this message on to the Hawks fans.
Firstly, I wanted to say thank you. It has been a honour to play for the brown and gold over the last 15 years and I appreciate all the support and opportunities that I have had throughout my time at the Hawks.
There are too many people to thank, and if I mentioned all the individuals this would turn into an essay, so to the players, coaches, medical and conditioning staff and everyone who has been with me over the journey – thank you. OK, maybe just a few individuals as well. Crawf, Vanders, Hodgey and Roughy – thank you for your ongoing support and friendship.
For most of you the news on Wednesday would have come as a shock, but hopefully you can understand the logic of this decision.
At 34, with a young family and perhaps my best footy behind me, this all makes sense and it opens doors in terms of my next dream to be a coach. Some of you will be angry and think the club and I have made a big mistake, which I understand, but emotion aside, this is the right decision for myself and the football club.
My family is the most important part of my life; a new beginning excites us all, Lyndall, Smith, Emmerson and Scarlett.
The Hawthorn Football Club has treated me and my little clan with nothing but respect and as part of their extended family. Other than another premiership, I could not have asked for a better way for my time at Hawthorn to end.
As for me, the thought of pulling on a new jumper, while still a little strange, is a great opportunity and has reinvigorated me for a new challenge.
As a kid I dreamt of playing at the MCG, playing in premierships and running through banners. However, making it to 300 games, with the same club, is something not even kids would dream of, let alone playing in four premierships.
I feel so fortunate and grateful for the last 15 years of memories.
To all of you, thank you for watching, cheering and supporting me over the journey. Thank you for all the good times and I even thank you for booing all the bad times; because every emotion that you have put into the Hawthorn Football Club has affected me and has made me want to achieve more and more.
I have loved it all and will always have brown and gold in my blood.