GEELONG, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 13: Tom Hawkins of the Cats calls for the ball during the Geelong Cats training session at Deakin University, Waurn Ponds on January 13, 2017 in Geelong Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Geelong full forward Tom Hawkins has returned to training for the first time since undergoing post-season knee surgery.

Hawkins had a piece of his meniscus removed after he suffered a small tear to it during the season.

“He is gradually coming back into the fold,” Geelong assistant coach James Rahilly said.

“He is doing some drills and hopefully in the not too distant future he will be training fully. It’s going to be great for the forward line to get a leader back in that position.

“Obviously he straightens us up as well.

“It’s been a very straight forward rehab. He is going well. He is still quite strong.”

Rahilly said Hawkins is on track to take part in the Cats’ pre-season campaign in the newly named JLT Community Series.

“I think with the amount of training he will get from now until the end (of pre-season), I think he should show his face in one of the games, if not all of them for sure,” Rahilly said.

Geelong’s first pre-season game is against Hawthorn at the University of Tasmania Stadium on Friday, February 17.