JARRYD Roughead has come through his first game in 17 months with flying colours in Hawthorn's four-point JLT Community Series win over Geelong at UTAS Stadium.
The newly crowned Hawks skipper, fully recovered from a recurrence of his melanoma, played all four quarters of the entertaining clash, which was only won by the Hawks with a mark and goal to young midfielder Kade Stewart from 40 metres out on the final siren.
It was a similar distance to that Hawk Isaac Smith missed from in last year's qualifying final against the Cats, and handed the Hawks a 0.15.8 (98) to 1.13.7 (94) win.
Roughead had 14 disposals and kicked a goal, but it was though he hadn't skipped a beat, playing in the forward line and also prowling through the midfield winning key clearances.
The other bonus for the Hawks was the impressive club debut of Jaeger O'Meara, who in his first game at AFL level in more than two years, had 12 possessions (eight contested) in the first half before being rested.
Geelong had plenty to be pleased about, not the least of which was a scintillating third quarter, which turned a 41-point deficit into a five-point lead at the final change.
The Cats arrested poor clearance and contested ball numbers to take charge, with former North Melbourne forward Aaron Black kicking three goals to get them back into it. He ended the match with four majors.
Former Carlton half-back Zach Tuohy impressed in his first game for the Cats with 33 touches, while Brownlow medalist Patrick Dangerfield was best afield with 27 touches, while rarely appearing to get into top gear.
Others to play well for the Hawks were Cyril Rioli, Isaac Smith and Stewart, who kicked two goals including the match-winner.
But it was the proverbial game of two halves and he as leaves for a brief trip to the United States for a study tour, Hawk coach Alastair Clarkson won't be certain which half to take more from.
Geelong's cause wasn't helped by a rolled ankle to midfielder Cam Guthrie in the first term and a knock to the ribs to defender Lachie Henderson also in the first term that saw him leave the ground.
New Hawk vice-captain Liam Shiels could be the first player to be cited by the Match Review Panel after colliding with Darcy Lang off the ball in the first quarter.
WHAT WE LEARNED
Hawthorn: When the Hawks take control of contested possessions and clearances, they will take a ton of beating. They took seven marks inside 50 in the first quarter alone as their forwards took advantage of slick and quick ball movement. They looked great in kicking 11 first-half goals and that's with Jack Gunston and Luke Breust out of the side. Shaun Burgoyne, now aged 34, moved well and appears to have lost nothing over summer. Kade Stewart and Will Langford worked hard through the midfield in their bid to break into the rejigged midfield for round one.
Geelong: Concerns over the retirement of Corey Enright might be eased after the slashing first-up effort of Zach Tuohy, with the former Blue mustering 33 touches across half-back in a fine, first up performance. The Cats will also look forward to their forward line jelling through the remainder of the pre-season but the form of Harry Taylor and Aaron Black suggests it won't be Tom Hawkins or bust in 2017.
Hawthorn: Jaeger O'Meara's first half cameo delighted the Hawks, but Alastair Clarkson was at pains afterwards to also praise former Tiger big man Ty Vickery, who had 10 touches. And while he didn't take any marks, he did create contests and bring the ball to ground for the likes of Cyril Rioli and Paul Puopolo to feast on.
Jaeger O'Meara fires a handball past Darcy Lang. Picture: AFL Photos
Geelong: Tuohy and Black were good, and draftees Jack Henry and Zach Guthrie each kicked a goal, with the latter having 24 touches. Brandan Parfitt had 11 possessions but looked comfortable at the level. The Cats really like him.
NEXT UP: The Hawks are back into it immediately, with a game on Sunday week against North Melbourne in a sold-out clash at Arden Street. The Cats have a week off before a trip to Adelaide to play the Crows.
HAWTHORN 0.6.2 0.11.3 0.13.4 0.15.8 (98)
GEELONG 1.2.1 1.3.1 1.12.6 1.13.7 (94)
Hawthorn: Rioli 3, Schoenmakers 2, Stewart 2, Langford 2, McEvoy, Roughead, Shiels, Burgoyne, Hartung, Smith
Geelong: Black 4, Hawkins 2, Taylor, Motlop, Guthrie, Bews, Parfitt, Henry, Blicavs,
Hawthorn: Roughead, Rioli, Smith, Stewart, Burgoyne, Frawley
Geelong: Dangerfield, Menegola, Tuohy, Black, Smith, Ruggles, Lang
Geelong: Henderson (hip), C.Guthrie (ankle),
Umpires: Deboy, O'Gorman, Fleer, McInerney
Official crowd: 8512 at UTAS Stadium
Jarryd Roughead and Patrick Dangerfield have eyes only for the ball. Picture: AFL Photos