MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 05: Jaeger O'Meara and Tom Mitchell of the Hawks jog during a Hawthorn Hawks AFL pre-season training session at Waverley Park on December 5, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Former Hawthorn captain Luke Hodge has heaped praise on new recruit and former Sydney midfielder, Tom Mitchell, labeling him the most competitive person he has ever come across in his time in football.

Mitchell joined the Hawks in last October’s trade period in exchange for picks 14 and 52, while Sydney also sent 57 to Hawthorn.

The 23-year-old had a stellar season in 2016, averaging a career high 28 disposals, 6.2 tackles and 3.9 marks per game, as he played every game for the Swans.

However, a lucrative offer to join the the Hawks under the tutelage of Alastair Clarkson was too good to refuse. And Hodge, known for his competitive edge, says Mitchell has fitted in well, impressing his new teammates and coaches with his contested ball work and his hard nosed approach to the game.

“Tommy Mitchell is probably the most competitive person I’ve seen,” Hodge said RSN 927  on Wednesday morning.

“At every stoppage drill he’s teaching blokes what to do. He’s getting his hands on the ball straight up, so that’s a great start.”

Hodge said that Mitchell, along with several of the club’s existing youngsters can fill the void left by the likes of Jordan Lewis, Sam Mitchell and Bradley Hill.

“When Hilly (Brad Hill), Mitchy (Sam Mitchell) and Lewy (Jordan Lewis) left there was obviously a flat spot considering I’ve played with Mitch for 15 years, Lewy for 12 and Hilly for the last five or six,” Hodge said.

“In saying that, we have guys like Isaac Smith, Liam Shiels and Luke Breust — guys that have been waiting to stand up … Now there is so much room for these guys to grow as players and also as leaders. That’s a great opportunity for them.”

Hawthorn fans can get their first glimpse of the club’s new look team when the side runs out in its opening JLT Community Series game against Geelong at the University of Tasmania on February 17.