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Mitchell confirms intention to exit Eagles

Sam Mitchell played for West Coast in 2017 before joining their coaching staff for the 2018 season.West Coast assistant coach Sam Mitchell has confirmed he’s seeking a Melbourne homecoming due to family reasons.
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The four-time Hawthorn premiership star is understood to be contracted until 2020 but has told the playing group and senior coach Adam Simpson of his decision to leave the Perth-based AFL club.

“I need to be back in Melbourne,” Mitchell told SEN on Wednesday.

“I’ve said to the players and the coach that I love them, but I love my wife and my family more. That’s where my priority needs to be.

“It’s never been my intention to move out early but that has become a necessity.”

After a high-profile trade from the Hawks in 2016, the 35-year-old played 22 games for the Eagles last season before retiring and moving into West Coast’s coaching ranks.

Mitchell wouldn’t respond to speculation the Eagles will attempt to hold him to his contract, preventing him from joining a rival Victorian club.

But he insisted West Coast officials had thrown their arms around him.

“(General manager of football) Craig Vozzo and Simmo (Adam Simpson) have been very supportive,” he said.

Despite the public announcement of his impending exit, the 2012 Brownlow medallist maintains he’s focused on leaving on a high with the Eagles in flag contention.

“We are sitting second on the ladder and these opportunities … don’t come along too often,” Mitchell said.

“So my commitment right now is 100 per cent with the Eagles and making sure I can get our midfield to perform at a level that will give us every chance to win.”

It is believed several Melbourne AFL clubs are interested in securing Mitchell’s services.

Earlier this week Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson admitted that he had contacted his former charge about joining him in the coaches’ box but had been told “now’s not the right time to talk”.

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