Hawthorn great Terry Wallace believes the serious injury to gun midfielder Tom Mitchell could have major implications on the Hawks’ finals aspirations.
Mitchell sustained a broken leg at training on Friday morning and is likely to miss the entire 2019 campaign.
The reigning Brownlow Medallist has emerged as Hawthorn’s premier on-baller over the last two seasons and Wallace says Alastair Clarkson and the club’s coaching department will struggle to replace the 25-year-old ball-magnet.
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“Where I was sitting with Hawthorn I would have had them in calculations for a top eight position,” Wallace told SEN Drive.
“The loss of Mitchell, in my mind at the moment without doing any sort of homework on it, without looking at the fixtures and it will be tougher fixture for them, I would suggest that I would probably have them out of my top eight calculations.
“The two things that I think that you can’t lose from your team is your absolute critical finisher and the engine room starter.
“He’ll just be a critical loss to them, considering they have got Tom Scully as well who is on the injury list straight off the bat as well as another midfielder."
Mitchell, a dual best-and-fairest winner with the Hawks, averaged 35.3 disposals, 8 clearances, 6.3 tackles and 4.9 inside 50s in 2018.