Spurred towards victory? Hawks coach Mitchell to spend time at Tottenham

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Spurred towards victory? Hawks coach Mitchell to spend time at Tottenham

By Peter Ryan

In today’s AFL Briefing, your daily wrap of footy news

  • Sam Mitchell will spend time at Tottenham Hotspur this week.
  • Geelong’s Toby Conway has had surgery on his foot.
  • Melbourne searching for a new head of medical 

Mitchell links up with Postecoglou’s Spurs

Hawthorn coach Sam Mitchell will spend time with Ange Postecoglou’s English Premier League team Tottenham Hotspur as they prepare to play Fulham on Tuesday.

Sam Mitchell will spend some time at EPL club Tottenham.

Sam Mitchell will spend some time at EPL club Tottenham.Credit: Getty Images

Mitchell lobbed in the UK on Sunday night and will spend time observing the club’s operations as part of his professional development as a senior AFL coach ahead of his third season.

Assistant coach Adrian Hickmott will spend time alongside him as the pair touched base with a variety of Tottenham Hotspur staff and departments following a busy trade period in which four players – Jack Gunston, Mabior Chol, Jack Ginnivan and Massimo D’Ambrosio – joined the Hawks and three players – Tyler Brockman, Brandon Ryan and Jacob Koschitzke – left.

Mitchell spent time at Lennoxtown when Postecoglou was coaching Celtic in the Scottish Premier League and made a trip to Perth in July when Tottenham played a friendly in Australia as part of a pre-season exhibition tour. Postecoglou, a lifelong Carlton fan, was on the panel that selected Brendon Bolton as senior coach in 2016.

Mitchell, a Spurs fan who has spent much of his playing career preparing himself for a life in coaching, spent a week with the Tottenham Hotspurs Academy in 2019, watching their under-18 team play Chelsea’s under-18s.

AFL coaches often spend time at sporting clubs in the UK or America in the off-season as part of their development.


Sydney’s John Longmire and assistants Jarrad McVeigh and Dean Cox spent time with the NFL’s New England Patriots, coached by Bill Belichick, on Monday.

Conway has foot operation

Promising Geelong ruckman Toby Conway has had a post-season procedure to clean up bone fragments in his foot after making his debut for the Cats in the final round of the season.

Toby Conway at the draft training day in 2021.

Toby Conway at the draft training day in 2021.Credit: AFL Photos

The Cats have high hopes for the 20-year-old despite the foot and ankle issues that have restricted his playing time since they drafted him in the 2021 national draft. He impressed on debut against the Western Bulldogs with 24 hitouts.

They do not believe the latest procedure to be a major concern as Conway prepares for another pre-season with the tall ruckman out of his moon boot. The Cats retained premiership ruckman Rhys Stanley but Jonathan Ceglar retired. They also have Mark Blicavs and Shannon Neale on the list as potential ruckmen in 2024.

Melbourne on the hunt for a new head of medical

Melbourne will have a new medical department head in 2024 after Dr Laura Lallenec decided to depart after seven years at the club to put her energy into a broad range of roles within sports medicine.

Lallenec, a doctor at Olympic Park Sports Medicine, is also a medical consultant to Sports Integrity Australia and is Netball Australia’s chief medical officer, as well as being the Demons’ club doctor. She was also appointed to the World Netball Medical Advisory Panel in July.

The Demons said they were disappointed to lose Lallenec, who was an integral part of the club’s drought-breaking 2021 premiership team, with president Kate Roffey thanking Lallenec, who joined the club in 2016, at the Demons’ best and fairest count held earlier this month.

Lallenec has been assisting the club during the off-season while the club doctor, Dr Jacob Jewson, had a break.

Demons CEO Gary Pert indicated the standing Lallenec held within the football club.

“Laura’s unwavering dedication and expertise after seven years have left an indelible mark on the Melbourne Football Club,” Pert said.

“In the 17 weeks that Laura stayed with the football program throughout the COVID hubs, she built an unprecedented level of trust with the players, staff and families which will never be forgotten.

“Her genuine care, ensuring the health and wellbeing of all players, remained the top priority, along with her exceptional medical skills, [which] set a standard of excellence that resonated throughout the club. We wish Laura all the best for the future.”

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