Premiership skipper tag would be ‘career highlight’ Mitchell
Claremont captain Kane Mitchell says becoming a premiership captain at the Tigers would be the highlight of his stellar senior football career, as his side prepares to battle South Fremantle in the 2020 WAFL Grand Final on Sunday.
Mitchell, already a Sandover Medallist and dual premiership player with the club as well as 35 games at the highest level with Port Adelaide, now has his sights set on adding another accolade to his long list of career achievements.
The 30-year-old said it would top everything he has currently achieved in the game.
“I don’t think it would be paralleled. To be able to lead a football club to a premiership is something that I would cherish,” Mitchell told Sports Drive on Wednesday.
“It would be the best thing that I could have ever achieved. Individual things happen but to be able to be a premiership captain would unreal to be honest.
Mitchell shared the captaincy with fellow Tigers premiership star Ian Richardson last year before assuming the role on a sole basis this season with Richardson’s retirement, leading the club to it’s first Grand Final since 2012.
One of only three players still active at WAFL level from that 2012 flag, Mitchell had a simple message to his team mates experiencing a WAFL Grand Final for the first time.
“I’ll just tell the boys to really enjoy it, I’ll talk to them tomorrow night more about the actual energy of the day and how I’ve approached it in the past,” he said.
“Everyone’s individual, some guys really enjoy getting to everything and doing everything and some guys just want it as business as usual.
“Last week we kept a lid on it as best we could with our development side still trying to earn their place in the Grand Final. Last night’s training was amazing, the boys trained really well and used the ball really well. I just want Sunday to be here already to be honest.”
All three sides have qualified for the Grand Final at Fremantle Oval on Sunday, with Reserves winning their way through on Sunday against Subiaco to book a berth with the Colts and League.
Mitchell was overjoyed for the club to have a chance at winning all three flags available on Grand Final day.
“I think this group is really reaping the rewards of a lot of hard work,” he said.
“Having three teams in the Grand Final is a real testament to our culture and system that we have at Claremont. Hopefully it all holds up and comes together on Sunday.”
Claremont completely dismantled South Fremantle in the second qualifying final at the same venue a fortnight ago, keeping the Bulldogs goalless in the opening half as they roared to a 47 point triumph to book their Grand Final spot.
The red and whites bounced back in the preliminary final to defeat West Perth by 21 points, setting up a rematch with the Tigers.
Mitchell said the key to replicating their second semi-final effort would be driven by pressure around the contest.
“It’s all about pressure. Finals football is a high pressure, high stakes situation. That’s what we concentrate on, really hunting and not giving them too much space.
“South Fremantle are a quality side, if you give them time and space, they are going to chop you up and they score really quickly.”
Coach Darren Harris and his selection committee are facing a coaching dilemma ahead of the decider, with key swingman Anton Hamp available having recovered from a knee injury and defender Dylan Smallwood getting through his comeback match last week unscathed from a hamstring injury.
With both considered part of the Tigers best 22, Mitchell said some players may be unlucky to miss out on selection.
“I think this time of year no matter where you’re playing there is going to be hard luck stories,” he said.
“Not sure how selection has gone just yet, they will decide tomorrow night and let the boys know. Whatever the decision is, it will be for the best of the footy club. The silver lining is whoever misses out will get to play in the reserves game. That’s the silver lining you have to take on it.”
The 2020 WAFL Grand Final is at Fremantle Oval on Sunday, with 91.3 Sport FM’s coverage commencing from 1PM.
IMAGE: The West Australian.