HAWTHORN forward Michael Osborne is close to resuming competitive training as his comeback from a serious knee injury continues.
It has been an indifferent pre-season for the Hawks veteran who was cut by Club to free up a spot on the list for a delisted free agent, later confirmed as former Cat, Jonathan Simpkin.
Osborne was then re-drafted by the Hawks with selection 70 in the NAB AFL Draft, with his understanding and character marvelled by everyone at the Club throughout the process.
Now fully entrenched in his thirteenth pre-season, the veteran has put his unusual path towards 2013 behind him and is focused on returning to the senior side.
To do that though, the 30 year old first needs to intensify his training load and slowly introduce competitive training into his regimen.
“I’ve had an introduction to skills over the last four weeks, doing a little bit of competitive stuff one-on-one in bit more of a controlled environment,” Osborne told hawthornfc.com.au
“We’ll slowly introduce a little bit more competitive stuff maybe in a week or two and hopefully take part a little bit in those games.
“Hopefully in the next couple of weeks I’ll get involved in some of the match play at training and hopefully some games aren’t too far around the corner.”
Osborne was an interested onlooker on Wednesday morning as his teammates took part in their first competitive hitout for 2013, albeit against themselves.
Coaches split the playing list into two sides, for an 18-on-18 match at the Ricoh Centre.
It wasn’t without its advantages for Osborne, however, who took the opportunity to surmise how the players are looking with its first NAB Cup matches three weeks away.
“I’m not yet able to compete in that competitive side of training, but I’ve been watching and I think the boys have improved a lot in the last couple of weeks since Christmas in the way we move the ball, our skills and our talk and energy out on the field is really good,” Osborne said.
“We’ll be getting in some training for better game play, getting used to game conditions and making decisions under pressure, that’s what that session was about.”
Despite his injury, Osborne travelled to the Sunshine Coast with teammates for the Club’s pre-season camp in December.
During the camp, the 30 year old said he believes he still has what it takes to play at the elite level.
“I think I’ve still got some value there for the team,” he said.Hawthorn take on Gold Coast and Brisbane at Metricon Stadium in the first NAB Cup triangular series on 23 February.
Kate Salemme is a member of Hawthorn Football Club's Digital Media team reporting exclusively for hawthornfc.com.au from the Ricoh Centre.