Traded Patton right at home with Hawks

Jonathon Patton will return to the AFL after a year sidelined by injury in the colours of Hawthorn.
Jonathon Patton will return to the AFL after a year sidelined by injury in the colours of Hawthorn.

Given the amount of time Jonathon Patton has already spent at Waverley Park, it won't take him long to get used to being a Hawthorn AFL player.

Traded from GWS, Patton grew up just down the road from the Hawks' Melbourne training ground and regularly headed there for a kick after school.

As a 14-year-old, he even completed work experience in Hawthorn's recruiting department under football manager Graham Wright, who helped orchestrate the future fourth-round selection deal to get the key forward to the club.

Now 26 and with three knee reconstructions behind him, Patton said he was looking for a fresh start in the familiar surroundings.

"There's been a few things in the background with the Hawks and when they were talking to my manager I was pretty interested," the 2011 AFL No.1 draft pick said.

"The move to this club is going to give me a lot of new life, new energy and obviously getting to know a whole new game plan, new teammates and new coaches ... it's something that's going to help my footy."

Patton is following in the footsteps of his former Giants teammate Tom Scully, whose AFL career appeared in doubt due to a serious ankle injury before joining Hawthorn for the 2019 season.

With the medical team working their magic, the midfielder made his debut in round two and played 21 of a possible 22 games this year.

The club had also had similar success with Jaeger O'Meara in 2016 and the injury-ravaged Shaun Burgoyne in 2009.

"Of course it plays a part," Patton said of the Hawks' success with injuries.

"From what you hear coming from some good friends I have here in Jaeger and Sculls (Scully) and what the history is, of course that definitely helps.

"The Giants had a really good medical department as well but obviously it's just the whole change, new physios and doctors, so I'm really rapt."

Patton will be available for day one of pre-season training and said he could have played in the back half of the season as GWS surged to the grand final but decided that given his injury history to take a cautious approach.

He said he had second thoughts as he watched the club he'd spent eight seasons at play in the title decider but felt the Hawks weren't far away from another run in September.

"They've had some legends over the last few years retire but I don't think it's much of a re-build," Patton said.

"They've got some really good young players coming through and next year we can have some really good success."

Australian Associated Press