Jarryd Roughead’s much-anticipated return had a fairytale ending when Hawthorn pinched a four-point win over Geelong with a goal after the siren in the AFL pre-season clash at Launceston.
The Cats charged in the third-quarter, meaning the Hawks had to scramble for their 0.15.8 (98) to 1.13.7 (94) win, which was sealed with the post-siren goal from Kade Stewart.
Four-time premiership winner Roughead, coming back from cancer treatment for his first outing since the 2015 Grand Final, was sharp for the Hawks, finishing with a goal and 14 disposals.
Lining up in his first match since being handed the Hawks captaincy, he took his place in the centre square in the first quarter, matched against 2016 Brownlow Medallist Patrick Dangerfield.
His goal came via a free kick against Nakia Cockatoo in a marking contest on the edge of the goalsquare.
— AFL (@AFL) February 17, 2017
Roughead, 29, had a melanoma removed from his lip in 2015 then suffered a recurrence in 2016, ending his season, but was given the all-clear by doctors.
Having played all four quarters, momentum will now gather for the key forward to start the season against Essendon in round one.
Against the Cats he found support from high-profile recruit Jaeger O’Meara, who made his first appearance since late 2014, overcoming a horror stretch of injuries, playing the first half and notching up 12 disposals.
With the Hawks well ahead, O’Meara – who is returning from knee surgery – was benched for the second half.
Former Carlton defender Zach Tuohy impressed in his first game for the Cats with 33 disposals, while Dangerfield was best afield with 27 touches.
Geelong, which caused something of a stir on social media by wearing white T-shirt-style guernseys, also would have been pleased with the three goals from Aaron Black, who struggled to get a game for North Melbourne in 2016..
Less pleasing was the hamstring injury to Cameron Guthrie, followed midway through the second term by defender Lachie Henderson left the field.
Neither player returned to the field.
— Geoff Slattery (@GeoffSlattery) February 17, 2017
HAWTHORN 0.6.2 0.11.3 0.13.4 0.15.8 (98)
GEELONG 1.2.1 1.3.1 1.12.6 1.13.7 (94)
Hawthorn: Rioli 3, Schoenmakers 2, Stewart 2, Langford 2, McEvoy, Roughead, Shiels, Burgoyne, Hartung, Smith
Geelong: Black 4, Hawkins 2, Taylor, Motlop, Guthrie, Bews, Parfitt, Henry, Blicavs,
Hawthorn: Roughead, Rioli, Smith, Stewart, Burgoyne, Frawley
Geelong: Dangerfield, Menegola, Tuohy, Black, Smith, Ruggles, Lang
Geelong: Henderson (ribs), C.Guthrie (ankle),
Umpires: Deboy, O’Gorman, Fleer, McInerney
Official crowd: 8512 at UTAS Stadium