He’s already won four premierships and a Brownlow medal, but West Coast midfielder Sam Mitchell will be in a league of his own if he can produce another big performance in Sunday’s AFL clash with Essendon at Etihad Stadium.
Mitchell has reached the 30-disposal mark an astonishing 118 times over his glittering career.
It’s the equal most on record in VFL/AFL history – tying the mark set by St Kilda’s Robert Harvey.
Mitchell has the chance to snare the outright record against the Bombers, and his confidence is high, coming off a 33-disposal match in last week’s win over the Bulldogs.
West Coast coach Adam Simpson said Mitchell’s achievement was remarkable.
And although Harvey took 69 more games to reach the same mark, Simpson pointed out that the St Kilda legend was tagged more often than Mitchell.
“I would assume Harvey would have been tagged every week,” Simpson said.
“I remember tagging him (and he still had) 30-plus a couple of times back in the day.
“It’s a different era, but it’s a fair effort by Sam. It’s a sign of his consistency.”
The Eagles have won three straight games to shoot into the top-four.
And although their form at the MCG remains a concern, they’ve proven they can win on the road after posting triumphs over North Melbourne (Etihad Stadium) and Port Adelaide (Adelaide Oval).
Eagles spearhead Josh Kennedy had a wayward outing in last week’s win over the Bulldogs, booting 3.6.
Simpson is confident it was just a rare blip for Kennedy, rather than the start of a worrying trend.
“It’s not a pattern,” Simpson said.
“He’s had games where he’s kicked 10 straight.
“He’s probably our best preparer in terms of how he goes about it off field with the mindset and how he prepares for the opposition.
“We’ll back him in to get it right.”
Essendon coach John Worsfold decided to stick with the same 22 who beat Geelong last week.
West Coast resisted the urge to recall fit-again veteran Drew Petrie.
The 34-year-old has made an early recovery from a broken hand, but will have to prove his fitness in the WAFL before earning a senior call-up.
Forward Jamie Cripps is back after recovering from an ankle injury, with fellow goalsneak Josh Hill forced to make way.