BROWNLOW medallist Tom Mitchell looks on track for a round one return on the strength of his sharp display in Hawthorn's intraclub match on Friday night.
Mitchell played the first three quarters, including a particularly prolific opening half, before literally putting his once-broken left leg on ice in the final term.
He started with the weaker 'blue' side before joining the star-studded 'orange' line-up, which included reigning club champion James Worpel, Chad Wingard, Isaac Smith, James Sicily and Luke Breust.
The Hawks announced post-game that Worpel had added two more years to his contract and was now tied to the club through the 2023 season but it was Mitchell who stole the show.
"(Mitchell) started in the 'twos', then made his way into the 'ones', so he must have got a few touches but it's just good to see him back," Smith said post-match with a grin.
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"He's been moving pretty well since Christmas. Who knows when he'll be back but he's out there doing everything, so it's good.
"I think everyone (wants him to play round one) – he's a Brownlow medallist, he can play footy and he certainly makes us better, so when we get him back it'll be great."
Another prominent orange member was recruit Jon Patton, who turned in a powerhouse performance in attack despite the wet conditions at Waverley Park.
Patton steered through a pair of set-shot goals in the first quarter, added a third before half-time, then lined up unsuccessfully for a fourth deep in the fourth term.
That last opportunity came after fellow newcomer Sam Frost went on one of his trademark trots through the middle of the ground and kicked long in Patton's direction.
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He terrorised the blue defence with his sheer size – and just as notable was how mobile he was despite spending the past 18 months out recovering from a third knee reconstruction.
"He was all right, wasn't he? He looked good," Smith said of Patton.
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"I don't think he's played a game in (almost) two years, so he was asking a few boys what you do before a game, what do you eat and stuff – he reckoned he'd lost it, but he looked like he played all right."
Interestingly, Mitch Lewis, who is set to partner Patton in a land-of-giants forward line this season, played for the blue side as he makes his way back from post-season shoulder surgery.
Smith was outstanding, Tom Scully's famed running power was on show – especially in one passage where he bolted past everyone to present inside 50 – and Jon Ceglar won the ruck battle against Ned Reeves.
Ben McEvoy was stationed in defence, where he ended last season and trained all summer.
Father-son selection Finn Maginness and rookie-listed Emerson Jeka, who were both in the blue team, were the best of the first-year players.
Jack Gunston (ankle), Jaeger O'Meara and Jack Scrimshaw (both managed), Jarman Impey (knee), Josh Morris – who will spend several more weeks out recuperating from minor knee surgery – Dan Howe and Dylan Moore did not play.
Gunston told the crowd at half-time he was "hoping to be ready for round one".
There was bad news for second-year defender Jacob Koschitzke, who sustained a left shoulder injury in a tackle and did not return.