Hawks star Mitchell happy with AFL return

Hawthorn champion Tom Mitchell was pleased to blow out the cobwebs after getting through his first serious AFL hit-out in more than 500 days unscathed.

The Brownlow medallist returned in a 21-point pre-season series defeat to St Kilda on Thursday night after missing the entire 2019 season with a broken leg.

He racked up a team-high 21 disposals to three-quarter time before sitting out the final term on the bench.

"I was a little bit rusty with my hands and things like that, but the body's fine and pulled up really well," Mitchell told Fox Footy post-match.

"I hit a few bodies and pulled up fine from a few big collisions and got through the game unscathed, that's the main thing."

Mitchell started in the centre square and finished with 12 contested possessions, five clearances and four tackles in the Hawks' 17.9 (111) to 13.12 (90) defeat at Moorabbin.

He said the game was played at a high enough tempo to test both sides ahead of their follow-up meeting in a practice match at Morwell next week, which doubles as a fundraiser for the Victorian Bushfire Appeal.

"Normally in these sorts of practice games you get a feel for the opposition, but the intensity was on and both teams had a real crack," he said.

"We play them again next week, which will be interesting. It doesn't normally happen, but it's good to get the first one out of the way."

Mitchell amassed an AFL-record 848 disposals during his 2018 Brownlow year but was forced to sit out last season after breaking his leg in a January training incident.

He was happy to gain some game experience alongside teammates recruited from other clubs since his last appearance, including Jon Patton, Sam Frost and Chad Wingard.

"The more we can train and play together and build that synergy, the better we're going to be," Mitchell said.

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson said the club would wait to see how Mitchell recovers before working out his plan for the remaining two pre-season matches.