HAWTHORN ending its run of outs against bogey side Brisbane in round one looks even handier now.
The Lions are one of four finalists from last year the Hawks must face by round five of the new 2020 Toyota AFL Premiership Season fixture, which could prove a blessing in disguise – or at least the making of Alastair Clarkson's team.
HAWK BLOW Gun mid suffers fracture to face
It may also be Hawthorn's undoing but the victory over Brisbane at the MCG has instilled internal belief another brown and gold uprising may be on the way.
Included in the Hawks' first month of the revived season are three away games – one at the MCG – while the sole home match sees the Hawks host North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium, where the Roos are tenants.
FIXTURE REVEAL New timeslot, primetime crackers, double-headers
A trip interstate to face Greater Western Sydney is a tough one on paper but Hawthorn strangled the Giants' ball movement in a pair of thumping triumphs last year.
The Hawks would be in fine fettle if they can manage even a split of the next four games, ensuring a positive record through five matches – after starting 2-3, then 5-9 in 2019.
ROUNDS 2-5 Check out the full fixture
The hyper-analysis of this fixture reveal has led, in some quarters, to round one results and venues being ignored, as well as forgetting what remains from round six onwards for each club.
Hawthorn will face only four teams in the final 12 rounds that featured in the top eight a year ago: Collingwood, Essendon, West Coast and the Western Bulldogs.
Of course, the ladder changes every year and what seems a dream, or nightmare, draw can quickly change but that is still to be determined.
Helpful, too, is Clarkson's men will play at least six and up to seven home matches in that run home.
They could all be at the MCG, depending on whether the AFL fixtures games in Tasmania, where the Hawks were originally scheduled to appear four times.
Hawthorn has won seven of its past nine outings dating to round 16 last season, with the Magpies, Cats, Giants, Eagles and Lions among the scalps in that time – as well as a loss to North.
Jon Patton and Sam Frost landed at Waverley Park in the off-season, while Brownlow medallist Tom Mitchell missed all of last year and both Tom Scully and Chad Wingard are primed for strong second-up campaigns.
MUST WATCH Nine games you can't miss
Blake Hardwick (chest) will be ready for round two, and important defender Jarman Impey (ACL) will be ready to play in August.
Star winger Isaac Smith, a key part of the club's flag three-peat from 2013 to 2015, has no intention of dousing the hype, either.
"It feels at this point in time that we've got a really mature list and we've also got some young guys … who are coming through and really impacting the side," Smith told SEN radio on Tuesday.
"Maybe over the last couple of years we haven't batted as deep but at the moment it feels like we're batting as deep as ever since I've been at the club, so hopefully that translates into wins and translates into a successful season.
"I know every team is always buoyant and confident at this time of the year but our showing round one was really positive and hopefully we can flow on from that."
The Hawks' pursuit of their next piece of silverware resumes on Friday, June 12 against arch-rival Geelong – the supposed fixture winner – under the GMHBA floodlights.