Sam won’t rush se­nior role

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - GLENN McFAR­LANE

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.”

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