Hawthorn veteran Jarryd Roughead is adamant the midfield group can cover for injured Brownlow Medalist Tom Mitchell this year.
Mitchell broke his leg in a training session at Waverley soon after returning to the club at the start of January.
He is expected to miss the entire 2019 AFL season.
The injury capped off a bad end to a brilliant 2018 following a rupture in the AC joint of his shoulder that required surgery following Hawthorn’s semi-final exit to Melbourne last September.
But Roughead is backing his teammates to pick up the slack for the gun 25-year-old.
“We’ve got a great midfield group that can step up and hopefully fill the void,” Roughead said. “Tommy is a great player, but in saying that it might open up different avenues in the midfield and different blokes to roll through.”
Roughead himself had an interrupted preseason last year after going in for knee surgery in December 2017 to clean up low-level swelling.
The 32-year-old said those concerns are a thing of the past and he’s feeling fresh.
“We have had a bit of a longer break over the Christmas period,” Roughead said.
“But now we’re getting into it with games starting in two weeks that’s where you really start to have fun. This whole running around boundary lines isn’t my one wood.”
The ex-captain also said he was none the wiser over the Hawks extend their contract in Launceston past 2021.
“That’s something the upstairs group will obviously work out, but as a playing group, we just love it,” he said.