Hawthorn’s Brownlow medallist Tom Mitchell admits he’s racing the clock to be fit for round one as he recovers from a shoulder reconstruction.
The 27-year-old is three months removed from surgery and he now has just 10 weeks to get his shoulder right for round one against Essendon.
“Yeah not (doing) a lot at the moment – pretty restricted,” he told 7NEWS on Thursday.
“I’ll probably join in team skills (sessions) in around four to six weeks.
“At the moment just a lot of rehab running and I’m trying to strengthen up my shoulder.”
Mitchell suffered the injury in round one last year in his return from a broken leg, but he still managed to play every game.
“In terms of the leg it’s getting close,” he said.
“It’s, I would say, 90 per cent, so hopefully my best footy’s not too far away.”
Hawthorn are due to face Richmond in round two before their Easter Monday blockbuster against Geelong – and ex-Hawks veteran Isaac Smith.
Smith made the shock switch to the Cats in the off-season, but he doesn’t fear coming up against his old teammates.
“Um, the ones I’m worried about are probably gone,” Smith said last month.
Mitchell couldn’t resist a jab back, with tongue firmly in cheek, on Thursday: “He should be worried, yeah. If you’re watching, Isaac, be worried.”
Despite his injury concerns Mitchell is one of the leading candidates to take over from Ben Stratton as Hawthorn’s captain.
Having previously shared his ambitions, he can only wait and see before the playing group votes for their new skipper in the coming weeks.
“We have a number of great leaders throughout the footy club,” he said.
“The title doesn’t necessarily faze me, I’ll go about my leadership the same way regardless.”
While the focus remains on his rehab ahead of round one, Mitchell is also in the final stages of releasing an app to help the next generation of footballers.
Ball Magnets will feature insights from the likes of Patrick Cripps, Lachie Neale, Matt Rowell and AFLW star Erin Phillips.
The app is set to be available in March.