Hawthorn defender Ryan Schoenmakers says he is looking forward to spending more time in attack this season after making his comeback from a knee reconstruction for the Box Hill Hawks in the VFL on Saturday.
Schoenmakers, who impressed with 16 disposals and a goal on return, is likely to play another one or two matches at Box Hill to gain match conditioning but was yesterday struggling to contain his excitement of being back out on the field; his first time since round four against Fremantle last year.
“I was pretty excited to get back. I waited a while for this moment so it's just good to get out and have a run with all of the boys,” Schoenmakers said.
“We haven't planned anything out in concrete (in regards to an AFL return) … I suppose just to get back and get some match fitness into the body and just get back into the swing of it.”
Schoenmakers, who has previously played as a key defender, spent some time up forward for Box Hill and may well add a new dimension to Hawthorn's forward line upon returning.
After being monstered by opposition forwards in his early years, he may well be the one monstering opposition defenders after focusing on adding extra muscle over the pre-season.
Sporting a short pony-style similar to that of Collingwood's Brodie Grundy, Schoenmakers said he would love to spend more time up forward.
“Hopefully … I played a lot as a forward as a junior so I feel pretty comfortable up there with the way the structures are and everything like that. I'm more than happy to be swung up forward every now and then,” he said.
“You probably have a bit more energy in rehab because you're not doing as much running and training so you put a bit more time and effort into the gym I suppose,” he said of his improved physique.
Schoenmakers made his comeback alongside another key defender Ben Stratton, who was rated best on ground for shutting down the Werribee defence and repelling from the defensive 50.
Stratton, who is returning from a calf and hamstring injury over the pre-season, was a stand-out in Box Hill's 25-point win.
The premiership defender had 13 disposals, four marks and a centre clearance.
The Hawks have relied heavily on the likes of Kyle Cheney, Matt Spangher and Angus Litherland to help fill the void of the big names missing including Schoenmakers, Stratton and key full back Brian Lake, who is tipped to return from injury via Box Hill next week.
“We've got a couple of inexperienced boys up there but they're really holding their own," Schoenmakers said.