Jason Horne-Francis Adelaide Crows, Rory Lobb St Kilda, Tom Mitchell Hawthorn contract

A Hawthorn star has emphatically pledged his loyalty to the club and his desire to expose young talent at the coalface.

Plus a top-four contender remains keen on Rory Lobb, while North Melbourne has been urged to be “brave and bold” at the trade table.

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HAWKS STAR INSISTS HE ‘WOULDN’T RATHER BE ANYWHERE ELSE’

Brownlow Medallist Tom Mitchell insists his future is at Hawthorn, despite spending less time at center bounces this season.

Mitchell and Jaeger O’Meara have been asked by new coach Sam Mitchell to play different roles in many games so far this season, which has given the likes of Jai Newcombe, Josh Ward and Conor Nash more center bounce opportunities.

Despite that, Mitchell is still ranked no. 1 at Hawthorn for average disposals, contested possessions and clearances while his score-involvement-per-disposal ratio is the best it’s ever been.

It comes after last year’s trade period where Hawthorn offered up some of its established-big name players – namely Luke Breust and Chad Wingard – to rival clubs in a bid to secure extra early draft picks and help fast-track its rebuild.

Speaking to 7 News MelbourneMitchell doused any trade flames.

Tom Mitchell of the Hawks. Picture: Michael WillsonSource: Getty Images

“That’s the furthest thing from my mind to be honest,” Mitchell told 7 News from Darwin. “I loved it here at Hawthorn and I’ve loved it here the whole six years I’ve been here.

“I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else, so I’m extremely happy.”

Mitchell said he was happy to attend less center bounces this year if it benefited the long-term team.

“It’s probably been a strength of mine over my career, but I’ll keep adding strings to my bow,” he said.

“We’re just trying to explore the best options for the team and that’ll help us move forward.”

DOCKER HAS ‘STRONG ST KILDA INTEREST’

Rory Lobb has “strong interest” from St Kilda as the Fremantle big man eyes a long-term deal elsewhere, reports the Herald Sun..

Lobb has played a key role in the Dockers’ resurgence this season, booting a club-high 14 goals and ranking first at the club for marks inside 50 in a forward-ruck role.

While contracted for next year, previous reports have suggested Lobb remains open to requesting a trade to the east coast, as he did in 2021 when he was close to move back to the Giants.

Robbo raves over best Dockers QTR ever! | 03:38

The Herald Sun. reported on Monday Lobb was “still keen to move east” on a three-year deal worth around $ 500,000 per season and that there was “strong St Kilda interest” in him.

The Saints are keeping tabs on Lobb as the club begins planning for life after Paddy Ryder. While the star veteran ruckman is in awesome form and given no indication yet about his footy future, he’ll turn 35 before Round 1 next year.

Lobb has played 54 games for the Dockers over the past four seasons. He was traded to Fremantle after the 2018 season and 74 games for the Giants.

ROOS URGED TO BE BRAVE AND BOLD

North Melbourne has been urged to be “brave and bold” and explore the possibility of trading prized no. 1 pick Jason Horne-Francis to a rival club.

The Kangaroos snared Horne-Francis with their opening selection at last year’s draft, but the young gun has put off talks over extending his contract.

It’s prompted ample commentators to question why Horne-Francis would want to stay at North Melbourne given the club’s tough on and off-field circumstances.

Speaking on Channel 9’s Footy Classified on Monday night, co-host Craig Hutchison said the Kangaroos should “not fear his exit”, instead encouraging them to “be proactive and understand what it could look like”.

Saints simply too good for Kangaroos 01:07

“He’s got the most currency now while he’s still contracted and you’ve got a year to mop it up anyway if he doesn’t go or you don’t get a good enough offer. History says you get way overpaid in these situations, ”Hutchison told Footy Classified.

He added North had to embrace the “reputational risk”.

“(Ryan) Griffin left the Bulldogs and they won a flag, Leigh Colbert left Geelong and they rebuilt,” he said. “The reputational risk fades quickly and the opportunity might be overwhelming.”

Port Adelaide champion Kane Cornes, who last week encouraged the Crows and Power to “go all in” on trying to lure Horne-Francis home, said Hutchison’s suggestion was “worth considering.”

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