Alastair Clarkson hits out at Tom Mitchell trade reports, Jai Newcombe debut, Hawthorn defeats Sydney Swans, scores, highlights, result

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Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson has rubbished reports that the club is willing to trade star midfielder and former Brownlow Medallist Tom Mitchell this summer.

Clarkson’s Hawks side may be embarking on what looks to be a lengthy rebuild, but secured its best win of the season by defeating the highly-fancied Sydney Swans 14. 5. (89) to 7. 9. (51) at the SCG.

Following the win, Clarkson was asked about reports suggesting that Mitchell could be traded to a Victorian rival, and was brought to laughter by the question.

“Honestly, what do you think my answer is going to be to that question?” he said.

“It’s just pure speculation that comes up at this time of the year with most players, whether it’s Zach Merrett, Patrick Cripps, Tom Mitchell.

“One per cent of it is true and the rest of it is garbage, so I’m taking the 99 per cent garbage.”

Mitchell has enjoyed his best season since his Brownlow year in 2018, averaging 33.5 disposals per game, and collected a game-high 34 touches against the Swans.

However, he was not the only Hawk to catch both Clarkson and the fans’ attention, with debutant Jai Newcombe breaking an AFL record after being picked up in the mid-season draft.

The 19-year-old laid an incredible 14 tackles, the most for a debutant in VFL/AFL history, surpassing the previous best of 11 set by Jack Graham and Rupert Wills.

“It’s so tough to know once they step up to the senior level whether they’re going to be able to cope with the rigours of the game and the speed of the game,” Clarkson said of Newcombe’s debut.

“He’s been outstanding at Box Hill in the first six games of the year that he played there.

“He’s just such a grounded kid and he’s a country lad who just loves his footy and loves his teammates and we just thought he was ready.

“We just thought what do we have to lose really? Our first half of the year was disappointing and we needed to find some players.”

To make matters worse for the Swans, young gun Sam Wicks could face a suspension after a late, head-high bump left Hawks youngster Will Day dazed in the third quarter.

It was a lean day for the Swans with the high-powered forward trio of Lance Franklin, Isaac Heeney and Tom Papley managing just two goals between them.

Hawthorn will aim to make it back-to-back wins when it faces Essendon in Round 14, while the Swans will enjoy a bye before facing Port Adelaide in Adelaide in Round 15.

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