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Fit Jaeger ready to let his footy do the talking

Cyril's decision, Ablett speaks, Gibbs' relief Tuesday Footy Feed with Matt Thompson and Nat Edwards
I'm a realist. I know it can turn for me pretty quickly but hopefully I can keep my body feeling the way it's feeling at the moment
Jaeger O'Meara

JAEGER O'Meara has the most publicised knee at Hawthorn since Peter Hudson, but is hopeful that finally, it is his football that will create the headlines.

The boom recruit from the Gold Coast only managed six games in his debut season for the Hawks last year because of a 'hot spot' on his knee, not related to his previous patella injuries when he played for the Suns, but which nevertheless took several weeks to correctly diagnose and then treat.

But he said on Tuesday that his knee was feeling the best it had for some time and that he has completed his most intense pre-season for several years.

"It's all going well at the moment," he said.

"I'm a realist. I know it can turn for me pretty quickly but hopefully I can keep my body feeling the way it's feeling at the moment."

O'Meara was the star of Hawthorn's intraclub game a fortnight ago, racking up 33 touches through the midfield, but wouldn't say for certain that he will line up on Saturday in Ballarat when the Hawks open their JLT Community Series campaign against the Western Bulldogs.

"I don't see why not but it's up to the selection committee at the moment," he said.

"I'm fit and ready to go, but whether they'll select me, we'll find out."

The 24-year-old gets the fascination with his knee. Hawthorn supporters look for every sign that he will be as good as advertised. They delight in every online report that suggest he is tearing it up on the track. 

"I don't read any fan forums," he continued. "I read the papers obviously but I don't like to read about myself. Hopefully this year there's someone else to talk about. 

"I know it's as a big story how it panned out. I don't worry about that sort of stuff, I just focus on what I can control.

"(But) I'd like to have played some more games."

Ryan Burton, Cyril Rioli and Jaeger O'Meara pose in front of an adidas mural. Picture: AFL Photos

O'Meara feels more confident with his knee and has discarded the strapping he wore on his return late last year, which he said was psychological as much as anything. 

"I'm excited by what can happen this year but we'll get through the JLT games first," he said.

"I don't feel like I need to repay the faith. I want to play as good a footy I can for Hawthorn, to manage my body, play to the best of my ability and stay on track."

The Hawks had a four-day break towards the end of last week, which O'Meara used to catch up with some of his former Gold Coast teammates.

Among them was Suns co-captain Tom Lynch, who is out of contract at the end of the season and now faces the same decision as O'Meara two years ago.

"I haven't talked too much to Tommy about it," he said.

"(There was) no chat about any of that stuff, just caught up as mates.

"Other than that, I don't want to speak about it unless he comes to me ... but I'd love to have him at Hawthorn."

O'Meara was speaking at a media event in Hawthorn's Glenferrie Road heartland to announce the five-year extension of the club's partnership with adidas.