The last time Grant Birchall took to the field for Hawthorn, he had Luke Hodge standing by his side and his opponent's home ground didn't exist.
With his former running buddy now featuring at a new home in Brisbane, the four time premiership Hawk is excited to feature alongside some new names in Hawthorn's back six as they take on Fremantle.
"It's a bit of a change since I last played, with a few different names but that's really exciting in itself and can't wait to hopefully gel with the guys back there," the returning defender said.
The love for Birchall was evident at UTAS Stadium on Friday with both fans and team-mates alike responding positively to the Hawks' return to his home state.
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"It's been a long time so it's good to get down on the home deck and get amongst it again.
"All my family and friends will be here which it very special. It just so happened to pan out that way [returning in Tasmania] so I'm very excited and looking forward to it, I can't wait."
The defender has played three games in the VFL prior to his big stage return to acclimatise to play and while he says his minutes will be restricted during the Dockers clash, he knows his role and is sure he will give the game a "red-hot crack."
"I've got through fine on each occasion, ticked all the boxes with my preparation and I'm ready to go.
"Hopefully I can just get through, contribute in some way and help the team win."
Coinciding with Birchall's return to the AFL after 740 days off the park with jaw, knee and calf injuries, the Hawks will be celebrating Tasmanian football with festivities planned throughout the day.
Do you know a junior sports star who calls Northern Tasmania home? Nominate them today.