Jarryd Roughead was spent by the end of his first game back for Hawthorn after having some nine months away from AFL due to illness.Hawthorn's narrow preseason win on Friday night in Launceston was only confirmed when Kade Stewart booted a goal after the siren for a 0.15.8 (98) to 1.13.7 (94) victory over Geelong.
It was Roughead's first contest since being declared cancer-free in December and the 29-year-old forward's debut in his new permanent role as captain.
He finished with a goal and 14 disposals as Hawthorn dominated possession in the first half but let the Cats claw back with a stinging eight unanswered goals in the third term.
"Towards the end I was cooked but I guess you're going to get that when you've had a bit of time off," Roughead told reporters after the game."I suppose it's good, but I haven't put this one as the focus. It's still a bit of a building block," he said.
"Round one's obviously what I'm building towards, and the more games I can play, it's just going to be better for me, and better for the team as well.
Roughead was determined to keep things low-key amid the excitement about his return to football.
"You guys make it big and I understand that, but for me, this is just a small step leading towards round one," he said.Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson acknowledged the efforts of new recruits Jaeger O'Meara and Tyrone Vickery who finished with five tackles, 12 disposals and two tackles, 10 disposals respectively.
The coach hopes former Tiger Vickery will improve a deeper Hawks forward line.
"We'd like to think we've become a bit more potent up forward," Clarkson said.
"With Vickery and Roughead back in that forward line hopefully it's a big presence and hopefully some more leadership as well."
Hawthorn's next fixture in the preseason competition puts them against North Melbourne at Arden Street on February 26.