Jaeger O'Meara set to make long-awaited comeback
HAWTHORN coach Alastair Clarkson wants the "hysteria" surrounding his star recruit Jaeger O'Meara to be a thing of the past.
The midfielder has been named to play his first game since round six, after recovering from bone stress in his knee cap, when the Hawks take on Carlton on Saturday night.
He played four games for the Hawks earlier in the season - the only four he has played in three seasons - but returned in the VFL last week and booted three goals and grabbed 29 touches in three quarters of football.
"I think there has been that much hysteria created around Jaeger for the whole of the year that I think it's good for him and for us and for the football community to actually see him out there playing and say 'righto, we think he's actually right to go and he might be all right from here on in'," Clarkson said at Waverley.
"Because that's our view within the club, but we can't control that hysteria outside of the club.
"It's probably pretty important ... we don't want to put him out there just for the sake of it, but we think it's valuable for everyone to have a look at him and say 'yep, we think he's right to go'. Then that can ease off over the summer you would hope and we can just go into next year with a bit of blue sky in regards to the Jaeger O'Meara story."
Clarkson admitted O'Meara's return had been behind schedule.
"It's actually a bit further than what we thought because he had a bone stress injury that we needed to just take our time with so we just needed to be really conservative and making sure we get that right," Clarkson said.
"He has done a really strong block of training, he has been training with the skills program with the main group for the good part of six weeks, so part of his return was to give consideration whether he would come straight back in based on his training block, but we just thought for him and us it was better that he had a run around at Box Hill.
"We gave consideration to giving him one more (in the VFL), but he recovered so well from that game, we think that it's valuable rather than just coming in after one game, which would be the last game of the year, that he gets a couple of goes at it.
"He has had a seven-day break and we really feel like he's ready to play some footy. I think it's valuable for him, valuable for us and probably valuable for the footy community to see him out there playing a couple of games before the end of the year."