MICHAEL Osborne will continue into a 13th season as a Hawthorn player, but really, there was never much doubt he would.

The veteran small forward had to 'take one for the team' at the end of this season.

The Hawks needed to free up a spot to sign delisted free agent Jonathan Simpkin and, at 30-years-old and coming off a knee reconstruction, Osborne was the least likely uncontracted player to be snatched up by another club.

He continued to train at Waverley Park after his delisting was announced and, when Hawthorn's final pick arrived at Thursday's NAB AFL Draft on the Gold Coast, became the oldest player selected on the night.

Hawthorn recruiting manager Graham Wright said Osborne, a popular figure at the club, had handled an uncomfortable situation well.

"It's great to have 'Ozzie' back on the list officially," Wright said.

"He was very gracious in helping us from a list management point of view.

"We were able to get Jonathan Simpkin onto the list as a delisted free agent by delisting 'Ozzie'.

"That's not easy for a lot of players in relation to their egos, but he was very good about it.

"We were always planning to take him back.

"His recovery from his knee has been very good, he's been very diligent with his rehab, and we feel he's a very valuable member of the club."

Wright said he felt Osborne still had much to give as the Hawks try to go one better than this year's Grand Final defeat in 2013.

"He plays a few different roles for us," Wright said.

"He can play as a high half-forward, he can tag, he can do a number of different things.

"So we were keen to get him back in."

And, by pouncing on Simpkin, the former Geelong rookie, before the draft, the Hawks have added a ready-made midfielder.

"Once we lost Clinton Young we felt we needed another runner to add depth to our midfield group," Wright said.

"Jonathan has got such good speed and endurance that bringing him in was important for us."

Follow Mark Macgugan on Twitter: @AFL_MarkM