It wasn't exactly the AFL debut Harry Jones had imagined for himself, but nonetheless it was a dream come true for the Wodonga export.
The former Murray Bushranger lined up for Hawthorn for the first time on Sunday against Greater Western Sydney at Giants Stadium.
With crowds and packed houses now a thing of the past this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of Jones' biggest supporters were forced to cheer him on from afar.
"It was definitely not how I imagined it," Jones said.
"A lot of my family couldn't come because they live in Victoria, so they weren't allowed into the ground.
"My girlfriend Finn could come and my cousin and his wife, Ben and Lauren.
"I got messages before it, my phone was blowing up for a few days.
"It was a good night."
The 21-year-old racked up 11 possessions, four tackles and three clearances in the Hawks 34-point loss to the Giants.
Jones was secured by Hawthorn at pick number seven in the 2018 Rookie Draft and had been honing his skills in the VFL with Box Hill.
Last season he averaged 21 possessions and six tackles from 13 games.
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A change in pace and more of a role forward were some of the key comparisons Jones drew from his first taste of AFL.
"It was a bit quicker than VFL and I had to play a bit more forward, so it was a bit different to play a different role," he said.
"The main difference with the actual game was that it's quicker.
"I found that I felt pretty comfortable in it."
Jones admitted it was good to have injury concerns behind him now after battling through several over the last few years.
"It's good to finally be injury free and get a bit of continuity," he said.
"This would be the most pre-season I've ever done, even though I've just come off a knee."
Jones said he's had plenty of guidance from Hawks teammates and fellow Border exports Jonathon Ceglar and Ben McEvoy.
"They always look after me," he said.
"Cegs was rucking and when I went into the midfield he was looking after me."
The young Hawk admitted the COVID season had been a wild ride with Hawthorn currently setting up camp in Sydney.
The team is locked in to remain there for the next fortnight, with Jones hoping to receive more time on the field.
"It's been pretty weird," he said.
"We're all getting used to it now.
"We're in a hub for 30 days for sure, we just don't know where the last two weeks will be yet."
Hawthorn will now face Collingwood for a Friday night clash at Giants Stadium.
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