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Hawk skipper's return just 'a building block' for round one

Ashley Browne  February 17, 2017 11:56 PM

JLT: Roughead 'cooked' after first game back Watch Alastair Clarkson and Jarryd Roughead's press conference after after Hawthorn's round one JLT match against Geelong
AFL 2017 JLT Community Series - Hawthorn v Geelong

Jarryd Roughead showed no signs of rust in his return to footy after more than a year away from the game

JARRYD Roughead. Tick. Jaeger O'Meara. Also a tick. And even Ty Vickery. He earned a tick too after Hawthorn's four-point win over Geelong in Friday night's JLT Series clash at UTAS Stadium. 

But let's start with Roughead, who looked pleased but relieved afterwards. He got through his first game in about 500 days without any dramas and with the hope that maybe, just maybe, the fuss will start to die down.

"I suppose it's good, but I haven't put this one as the focus. It's still a bit of a building block," he said. "Round one's obviously what I'm building towards, and the more games I can play, it's just going to be better for me, and better for the team as well."

Haw v Geel: Full match coverage and statistics

What Roughead would want most of all is to become just one of 38 listed players at the Hawks. "You guys make it big and I understand that," he said gesturing to a media pack a bit larger than usual for a pre-season game. 

"But for me, this is just a small step leading towards round one."

It was all about the minutes for Roughead, who had 14 touches, a mark and a goal, but he did admit to feeling a bit different after this opening hit-out of the season compared to those in seasons past.

"Towards the end I was cooked, but I guess you're going to get that when you've had a bit of time off," he said.

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson liked what he saw from Roughead and indeed, all the forwards in the first half when the Hawks kicked 11 goals and looked in mid-season touch. And that's with Luke Breust and Jack Gunston watching on TV back in Melbourne.

"Our forward line's always been one of the strengths of our side, and it didn't help with this big fella missing for the whole of last year," he said.

"We just didn't function quite as well as we have in the past, so 'Roughy' returning certainly helped that, but we'd like to think we've become a little bit more potent up forward."

The other notable inclusion for the Hawks was boom recruit O'Meara, but Clarkson wouldn't be drawn too much on the former Sun's 12-possession effort in the first half before being rested. Indeed, he preferred to talk about O'Meara and Vickery in the same breath. 

"We were pleased with the contributions those two lads made to the club in their first games for us. (I'm) happy with what Jaeger did," he said

That the Hawks were nearly overrun by the Cats came as no surprise, given they had about 25 fewer rotations off the bench.

Added Clarkson: "We were eager to get some match conditioning into a select few rather than a big group, so we ran out of gas a little bit.

"We were pretty lucky to win in the end, but we played some good footy early on."

Ty Vickery directs traffic during his first game for Hawthorn. Picture: AFL Photos
1_JLT1HaGe17AT2305.jpg

Geelong assistant coach Matthew Knights said it was an ideal first-up match. 

"They got on top in the second term but our second half was strong. We improved our method around the ball and hit the scoreboard," he said. 

"I know we're satisfied to come down and play four quality quarters against a good opposition." 

WATCH: Matthew Knights' full post-match media conference

The Cats slammed on nine goals in a terrific third quarter, with Knights attributing the turnaround to improved fundamentals with the ball.

"Our pressure lifted a bit; Hawthorn were able to waltz through us a bit in the first half, but we applied more pressure in the second half, which allowed us to win the ball back and go forward ourselves," he said.

"There were plenty of positives out of the game from our perspective," Knights added, citing the four goals from former North forward Aaron Black in his first game in a Geelong t-shirt and first-year players Brandan Parfitt, Zach Guthrie and Jack Henry.

Knights added that the first-quarter injuries to Cameron Guthrie (lower leg) and Lachie Henderson (hip pointer) weren't particularly serious and he expected them to be in consideration in a fortnight, when the Cats travel to Richmond Oval to play Adelaide. Skipper Joel Selwood is in contention to be back for that game as well.