SEVERAL pre-season training sessions with his old club Wodonga Raiders helped Jon Ceg-lar get in shape for a shot at an AFL lifeline.
The former Collingwood ruckman was given a second chance at the top level yesterday after being selected by Hawthorn with pick No. 15 in the rookie draft.
The 21-year-old has been training with the Hawks under ruck coach Damian Monkhorst since being delisted by the Pies.
He knew there were no guarantees he would find a new home.
“It was a relief to be picked up again,” Ceglar said.
“Hawthorn were still deciding who to take this morning.
“My manager (Liam Pickering) rang me and it all went through.”
Ceglar was used as a ruckman-forward in his two seasons with the Pies but is set to be a permanent ruckman at Hawthorn after the recent departures of Adam Pattison and Broc McCauley.
He will play for VFL affiliate Box Hill.
“We just felt that we needed more ruck depth and Jonathon fills that,” Hawks recruiting and list manager Graham Wright said.
“He had two or three training runs with us and Damian (Monkhorst) felt that he could potentially push up and play AFL footy soon.
“When he did play genuine ruck, we thought his ruck work was really good, he was able to get around the ground and compete really well.
“He can also push forward and take marks.
“He’s a genuine ruckman size at 204 centimetres and turning 22 in February, we felt he has some upside and can potentially fill that role for a few years.”
Ceglar, whose father David Ceglar played seven matches for North Melbourne, said he wasn’t bitter about being delisted by the Pies.
“They were very helpful through the two years, especially the development team ... Craig McCrae and Tarkyn Lockyer,” the former Murray Bushranger said.
“I couldn’t be bitter towards them. I learnt a lot.”
Wright said Ceglar would help keep the pressure on ruckmen Max Bailey, David Hale, Luke Lowden and Sam Grimley.
“We felt he could come in and help us with our ruck depth to start with, and then hopefully push on over the next year or two and potentially play senior games,” he said.
Ceglar was pre-listed by Gold Coast and on-traded to Collingwood along with Andrew Krakouer for pick 25 in the 2010 draft.
He played several preseason games but not a regular season match for the Pies.