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Mitchell back into Hawks’ AFL midfield

A reinvigorated Tom Mitchell will return to bolster Hawthorn’s struggling midfield as they seek to cause an upset in the AFL clash with Brisbane.

Mitchell battled through illness in the Hawks’ round-eight defeat to Essendon and was rested last week to give him time to overcome the lingering effects.

The time off did the trick, with the 2017 Brownlow medallist cleared to play in Launceston on Sunday.

His presence in the centre square will be a boost for the Hawks, who are ranked last for clearances and second-last for first possessions.

“Tommy will definitely play and start in the centre bounce,” coach Sam Mitchell told reporters on Thursday.

“We look forward to what he’ll produce. He is already a little bit more vibrant and up and about.

“He is a very important part of our team and midfield.

“We’ve been struggling a little bit in that area, so really looking forward to a bit of extra freshness into Tommy. Hopefully he can produce his best footy.”

Tom Mitchell had just 14 disposals against Essendon, well down on his previous average of 27.6 in 2022 and his lowest tally since late 2020.

Sam Mitchell conceded the midfielder fell into a rut because of his illness but said he had reaped the benefits of the week off.

“He got sick and didn’t really get over it, then played and went into a hole after that,” he said.

“He just hadn’t been his normal energetic self.

“Normally he is running around like a lunatic, always doing extras.

“It was a good idea to give him that circuit breaker.”

Hawthorn are also set to regain the services of dashing defender Changkuoth Jiath, who has been sidelined by a hamstring injury since the Easter Monday win over Geelong.

The Hawks were in the top-eight at that point, with a 3-2 record, but have since suffered four-straight defeats.

Brisbane (8-1) sit second and are seeking to extend their winning streak to six matches.

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