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Loss of Tom Mitchell gives Alastair Clarkson his biggest challenge

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Lose a soldier, replace them with another one.

That's been the Hawthorn catch-cry under Alastair Clarkson.

However it will be put to its greatest test in 2019 as reigning Brownlow medallist Tom Mitchell recovers from a serious broken leg.

As the 25-year-old has surgery on Saturday Hawthorn's brains trust will be putting their minds to how they rejig their midfield without the best ball-winner in the competition.

Best ball-winner in the competition: Tom Mitchell.Credit:AAP

If anyone can do that, then the masterful Clarkson can, having reorganised the Hawks' forward line when Lance Franklin joined Sydney before engineering then managing the departures of club champions Luke Hodge, Jordan........

© The Age