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Mitchell has AFL flag hopes for Eagles

AAP logoAAP 11/11/2016 Justin Chadwick

Boom West Coast recruit Sam Mitchell predicts his new club can challenge for the AFL flag in 2017, and says he's committed to staying at the Eagles for the long term.

Mitchell dropped a bombshell during the trade period when he made the move from Hawthorn to West Coast on a one-year deal.

The 34-year-old is likely to play on for the Eagles in 2018 if his form and fitness warrants it, and he'll become part of the club's coaching panel once his playing days are over.

West Coast bombed out of the finals at the first hurdle last season, and they'll be without injured ruckman Nic Naitanui (knee) for most of 2017.

But Mitchell, who won four premierships during his glittering 307-game career at Hawthorn, predicts bright things for the Eagles.

He may also be awarded the 2012 Brownlow medal after Jobe Watson handed his back on Friday after serving a long ban for a doping violation.

Richmond's Trent Cotchin and Mitchell were tied for second in the count.

"If I thought this was a football club that didn't have success on the horizon, I wouldn't have made the move," Mitchell said on Friday.

"I'm really excited by the playing list and the football club and the ambition of the place.

"I think this is a club that can finish in the top four and do well in the finals."

Mitchell said even if he only played one season at the Eagles, he wouldn't be moving back to Melbourne any time soon.

"I've moved my family over. I didn't do that for one year or two years. I've moved here for the long term," Mitchell said.

"Eventually I'll end up coaching. I've got a real passion for that part of the game."

Mitchell isn't dreading the extra travel that will be thrust upon him now that he's based in Perth.

But he couldn't help but laugh about media reports that stated he drove all the way from Melbourne to Perth with former Hawthorn teammate Bradley Hill, who joined Fremantle during the off-season.

"So what happened there was Brad Hill and I were going to the (Hawthorn) footy club to clean our locker out," Mitchell explained.

"And he didn't have his car there, so I drove him home.

"He sent a snapchat that said something like 'Haha, driving across the Nullarbor'.

"And then everyone started running with it, thinking it was serious. It was just sarcasm.

"We drove 15km. I wouldn't drive across the Nullarbor with Hilly; he'd drive me crazy."

West Coast coach Adam Simpson praised Mitchell's intelligence and leadership.

And he played down any concerns that adding Mitchell into a team that already featured Matt Priddis could make the midfield unit too slow.

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