Hawthorn fans can expect to welcome back James Sicily over summer, with the star defender set to be a full participant in training.
Sicily ruptured his ACL in the second half of the 2020 season, before sitting out all of 2021.
Hawks football boss Rob McCartney however said the 26-year-old was ready to hit the ground running.
“He’s travelling really well. We’re back December 6th for the full squad and he’ll definitely be joining in full skills training at that time,” McCartney told Sportsday.
“He was 12 months on August 27th from his injury, so if we were a side that maybe was looking to play deep in finals, we might have asked the question at the end of last year.
“He’s pretty excited, he wants to get back and build on what was starting to be a blossoming and fruitful career.
“It’s hard to rate someone’s value in goals, but he makes a difference.
“He was developing into a real A-grader within the competition, not just at our club, so I think he’s going to make us better.”
In even better news for Hawthorn, fellow key players Jack Gunston (back) and Will Day (ankle) are also on track for Round 1. The pair combined for just six games in 2021.
“(Sicily) coming back, and even Jack Gunston, he’s back into some high-speed running, will do some skills work before the Christmas break, they’re two pretty important players to us,” McCartney added.
“Sicily didn’t play last year and Jack played one game. We think that’s going to give us a nice little boost and young Will Day is another one, he only played five games.
“Each game he played in his second year he looked like he was going to develop as a real talent within our club and we’re looking forward to him playing a lot more football as well.”