RUST, fatigue and nerves.
That's how Gary Ablett described his brilliant round one performance on Sunday against Melbourne which has Cats coach Chris Scott oozing "excitement".
The maestro delivered 39 disposals and a goal in a trademark display, his past seven years as a Sun quickly forgotten as a thing of the past as he returned to rapturous applause from Cats fans.
"I was a little bit (nervous) when I was warming up, but I knew that would go pretty quickly when I got out there," Ablett said post-game.
"It took me a little bit to get in the game, I thought I was a bit rusty early but I'll be better for the run and look forward to next week."
His display was highlighted by a 13-disposal second term as the Cats kicked seven goals to open up a 27-point half-time buffer.
It sees Ablett's history of round one performances reach new heights – now averaging 34 disposals from his past seven season openers.
"Gary said he was pretty fatigued first one up and he'll get better, I was excited to hear that," Scott said.
"It's a nice asset to have in the coach's box when you've got a guy who can read the game really well.
"I think he'll be more penetrating in some games this year but his composure around the ball and understanding of what to do at the right time is important for us."
Ablett started in the centre square alongside captain Joel Selwood, Mitch Duncan and close friend and former Gold Coast ruckman Zac Smith.
He spent most of his time in the midfield before bursts forward where he was picked up by Demon Neville Jetta.
After an interrupted month leading into round one with a hamstring complaint, Ablett said he had no feeling of the injury.
"Hammy's fine, obviously didn’t have the preparation I would've liked heading into round one, (I) missed a bit of training," he said.
"You can do all the training you want, you've got to get into games, that's where you get the match fitness.
"One game down, great to get the win and get ready for game two."
Ablett has eight days to recover for the Easter Monday clash against Hawthorn at the MCG.
He is set to be joined by fellow Brownlow medallist Patrick Dangerfield, back from his own hamstring injury.