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The Roar


Mitchell to miss start of Hawks' pre-season due to serious illness, to have 'phased return' to club

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8th January, 2024

Hawthorn coach Sam Mitchell is still in New York after being struck down by pneumonia and will have his workload cut after returning to Australia later this week.

Mitchell spent Christmas in a New York hospital after being diagnosed with a serious case of pneumonia during his overseas holiday with family.

The 41-year-old has since been discharged and will return home later this week.

Hawthorn released an update about Mitchell’s condition on Monday, saying he would make a “phased return” to coaching duties. 

The club’s general manager of football Rob McCartney said the decision to ease him back was based on the advice from the medical team who had been treating Mitchell as well as the club’s doctors.

“Sam’s health has continued to improve following his discharge from hospital and he is now in the position to return with his family to Melbourne later this week,” McCartney said in a statement.

Sam Mitchell addresses his Hawthorn players.

(Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

“Whilst this is a positive step, Sam will still need some more time to return to full fitness and health.

“Sam will initially have a phased return to his role as senior coach, spending time in our program early in the week whilst also continuing to have the rest that is required for him to return quickly to full health.


“Over the past two seasons we have built an experienced and skilled coaching group. 

“I’m extremely confident that when Sam is not present in the program they will continue to prepare our group so we are ready to perform when the 2024 season starts.

“Our priority at the moment is ensuring that Sam recovers to full health as quickly as possible, and we are confident that this phased return will support this.”

Mitchell has led Hawthorn to just 15 wins from 45 games in charge since taking the reins in a messy handover from previous coach Alastair Clarkson two years ago.