Man in the middle ... Sam Mitchell.
Man in the middle ... Sam Mitchell. TRACEY NEARMY

Spitting accusation has AFL great 'p...ed off'

WEST Coast midfielder Sam Mitchell has denied he deliberately spat at Port Adelaide's Sam Gray.

Mitchell appeared to spit in the direction of Gray after a free-kick was awarded to the Power player during the third quarter.

Gray was laying face-first on the ground when saliva travelled from Mitchell's mouth towards him. Darcy Byrne-Jones immediately remonstrated with the four-time Hawthorn premiership player.

Umpire Andrew Schmidt was just one metre away and was heard on the microphone saying "Let's go, c'mon. Out” to Mitchell, but did not pay a 50 metre penalty.

However, both the player and the club have strongly denied the allegation.

"It p***ed me right off, to be honest,” Mitchell said at a media conference on Monday.

"There's three people a metre away and no-one thought anything of it and people that are watching it on a camera from who knows where thinks something of it.

"I think one of the challenges of finals footy is... there's twice as much demand for content and there's half as much content with no games being played. So that's one of the challenges for this time of year.

"I was pretty disappointed with the way it was reported, to be honest.”

Mitchell said he wasn't happy with the way the incident had been discussed.

"I was not too happy about it. It wasn't something I was intending to do or even close to being anything like what some people reported it.

"But you've no control over what's said on the external, so it's not a big deal - I'll laugh it off.”

The former Hawk emphasised he had been keen to publicly speak on the incident.

"I was pretty keen to get it out there ... nothing, like absolutely nothing happened,” Mitchell said.

"It happens 10,000 times a game from every player - (it's) probably not a good look, spitting at all on the football field but it's a bit late for me to change it.

"So I would describe it as nothing.”

West Coast had earlier released a strong statement denying Mitchell deliberately spat at Gray.

"The West Coast Eagles and midfielder Sam Mitchell are extremely disappointed about media reports suggesting that the decorated veteran spat at or in the direction of Port Adelaide forward Sam Gray in the elimination final on Saturday night,” the statement read.

"Both the club and Sam strongly refute any such suggestion or allegation.”

Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes described Sam Mitchell's 'spit-gate' incident as "ordinary”.

It was an act that Cornes was not impressed with.

"That's a pretty ordinary look from Sam Mitchell,” Cornes said on Channel 9.

"I think he would love to have his time again there. Lucky that didn't hit Sam Gray on the back of the head.”



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