MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 03: New Hawks assistant coach Sam Mitchell looks on during a Hawthorn Hawks AFL training session at Xavier College on December 03, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Hawthorn great Shane Crawford believes former teammate Sam Mitchell is a “genius” and  could become the AFL’s next coaching great.

Crawford told SEN Breakfast that the current Hawthorn assistant and former Brownlow medal winner could be the coach of the future.

“I just think he’s going to be a wonderful coach, a career coach and a premiership coach,” Crawford said.

Crawford said clubs should look at giving Mitchell an opportunity as a senior coach.

“I think clubs that are looking for a new coach and maybe Adelaide is looking and St Kilda maybe hasn’t worked out exactly what they’re doing, Sam Mitchell, if you want someone who knows the game, understands the game and has had to work his absolute butt off to get himself a game, you’d be crazy not to go and talk to him,” Crawford said.

Mitchell previously worked as an assistant with the West Coast Eagles during their premiership season in 2018 and is one of the youngest coaches in the league having only retired in 2017.

“He was obviously an integral part of West Coast winning the flag last year and they won it without Nic Naitanui and Andrew Gaff and he was in charge of that midfield,” said Crawford.

Crawford said that he thinks the Hawks midfield coach was instrumental in the club’s impressive Round 23 win against the West Coast Eagles in Perth.

“Sam Mitchell needs a lot of credit for what happened last week against the West Coast Eagles,” said Crawford.

“I just think he was the mastermind behind all of that.”

Crawford was unsure whether Mitchell would leave Hawthorn if presented the opportunity.

“He’s probably going to say he needs a few more years, but it’s all about the timing. If he thinks it is the right club, I think he’d jump at it,” said Crawford.

“He’s a genius. He really is and he’s got that hard edge. He is a tough type of character.”

SEN Breakfast co-host Tim Watson supported Crawford’s comments, telling listeners he thought Mitchell was similar to young NFL head coach Sean McVay of the Los Angeles Rams.

“The Rams thought maybe he’s not ready, but if we let him hang out there too long, we’re going to miss this bloke because someone else is going to get him,” Watson said.

“What you’re saying about Mitchell is almost the same. He may not be ready in his own mind, but if you put the right people around him, it might be the great appointment you can make.”