Sam won’t rush senior role
RETIRING West Coast midfielder Sam Mitchell won’t rush into a senior AFL coaching role without a lengthy apprenticeship, according to one of his mentors, David Parkin.
Mitchell, 34, will retire at the end of the season to take on a three- year role as an assistant coach to Adam Simp- son at the Eagles. One of the AFL’s most decorated players, the former Hawthorn and now West Coast star said yesterday he was looking forward to embarking on the next phase of his football life as soon as the Eagles’ season is over.
Parkin says Mitchell’s patience will stand him in good stead for the future, as he embarks on a different pathway to the one that Michael Voss, James Hird and Nathan Buckley took ahead of their entry into senior coaching.
“Sam is desperate to coach and has done the qualifications, but he also understands you need to manage your own group, unlike Voss, Hird, Buckley and company, who didn’t,” Parkin, a four- time premiership coach, said.
“You have to have done that before you get appointed ( to a senior role) in my humble opinion. That is something he might be able to do in the West.”
Parkin said Mitchell was, like Buckley, “a black and white person”, but that he understands “there is a thing called grey in between.”
“He is very like Bucks in his personality and his outlook and intelligence,” he said. “Sam knows the people management part of it, as an AFL coach, is what it is all about. He will have all the other attributes.”
Mitchell admitted the lure of coaching played a role in his decision to call time on one of the most decorated AFL playing careers. He could play his final match in Melbourne, against St Kilda, on Sunday.
“Monday mornings I wake up and I’ve got some coaching responsibilities and some playing responsibilities,” Mitchell said.
Geelong coach Chris Scott said yesterday: “He’s like a stone in my shoe, Sam Mitchell – and I hope he takes that as a compliment.”