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Hawks play the long game with O'Meara

Nat Edwards  April 21, 2017 4:44 PM

Star Hawk rolling with the punches Veteran Shaun Burgoyne opens up about the horror start Hawthorn has had to the season
AFL 2017 Round 01 - Essendon v Hawthorn

Jaeger O'Meara has played just three games since the end of 2014

He's not quite right, so they'll take the cautious approach with him

HAWTHORN remains confident highly-prized recruit Jaeger O'Meara's knee injury isn't anything more than a corkie, despite the midfielder missing yet another game this weekend.

O'Meara was left out of the Hawthorn side that was belted by Geelong on Easter Monday after sustaining a knock to his troublesome right knee.

The 23-year-old trained during the week in a bid to prove his fitness for Sunday's clash against West Coast at the MCG, but wasn't deemed 100 per cent fit.

Hawthorn veteran Shaun Burgoyne said the club would take a conservative approach with O'Meara, as they plan their future around the 2013 NAB AFL Rising Star winner.

"It's a totally separate issue to what he's had in the past. I think it was a fresh knock that he's received which is a good thing," Burgoyne told AFL.com.au on Friday morning.

"He's not quite right so they'll take the cautious approach with him, which I think is a great thing to do.

"When he's right, they'll bring him back in."

O'Meara debuted for Hawthorn in round one, after moving from Gold Coast in a much-publicised trade in October last year.

The loss to the Bombers was his first senior game since round 23, 2014.

Burgoyne knows better than most what it's like to deal with a long-term knee injury.

The 34-year-old arrived at Hawthorn in late 2009 on crutches following surgery on his troublesome knee.

There were plenty of question marks surrounding Hawthorn's decision to lure him from Port Adelaide, but the trade proved to be a masterstroke, with Burgoyne becoming one of the club's most durable players.

He has missed just seven games through injury since arriving at Waverley, with each of those coming in his first season at the club in 2010.

The premiership star said the cautious approach the Hawks initially took with his knee has paid off in spades.

"I know when I first came to the club with a knee injury, the club was very cautious," Burgoyne said.

"[They] were more thinking along the lines of a five-to-seven year process, and the same thing is going to happen with [O'Meara].

"We want him playing really good consistent footy for the next five to 10 years and not put him in jeopardy now."

Now in his 16th AFL season, Burgoyne said his body is still feeling strong.

The four-time premiership player is yet to make a decision on whether this season will be his last, but will continue playing until he feels he can no longer contribute.

"Personally I'm feeling really good," he said.

"I'm running further than I ever have, recovering really well. I know that being one of the senior players, and one of the oldest players, [the media will] be saying it's time to move on and those sorts of things. But as a senior player I've still got a role to play and that's all I'm trying to do.

"I haven't thought about making a decision just yet. We'll just wait and see how my own form goes, the team form goes and then you sit down and make a decision.

"But whether [for me] that happens this year or next year, we'll wait and see."