SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 25: The Hawks midfield of Tom Mitchell, Ben McEvoy, Jaeger O'Meara and Liam Shiels of the Hawks gather in the centre during the round 8 AFL match between the Sydney Swans and the Hawthorn Hawks at the Sydney Cricket Ground on July 25, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Hawthorn midfielder Jaeger O'Meara will lead his side onto the MCG this Sunday after club veterans Ben McEvoy and Luke Breust were ruled out of the Hawks' Round 1 date with North Melbourne due to health and safety protocols.

Having joined the Bunjil Bagora-based side ahead of the 2017 season, this weekend will provide the 28-year-old with his first opportunity to lead the storied side after being elevated to the role of vice-captain in 2020.

As first reported by The Herald Sun's Jon Ralph, both McEvoy and Breust were left out of first-year coach Sam Mitchell's team after coming into close contact with known Covid cases.

SEE ALSO: Fitzpatrick - Why McEvoy is the right man to lead the Hawks

After rehabilitating sufficiently from a hamstring complaint sustained over summer, O'Meara will now take the proverbial armband from McEvoy.

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It is not yet known when the premiership pair will return, with Hawthorn's Round 2 clash against Port Adelaide in South Australia scheduled for Saturday, March 26.

Since departing Queensland after four seasons and 44-games as a Sun, O'Meara has pulled on a brown and gold guernsey on 78-occasions and for 38-goals.

In other news out of Mitchell's nest, recent club import Josh Ward, Connor MacDonald and Max Lynch will make their AFL and club debuts this weekend.

News of the trifecta's team selection was broken by 10 News journalist Rob Waters ahead of the Hawks' training run at Waverley on Thursday morning.

While Lynch and MacDonald will plug positions at stoppage time, the introduction of Ward is sure to have brown and gold backers brimming.

Across his sole AAMI Community Series outing in Devonport, the first-round draftee impressed collecting 29 disposals, 19 of which were contested, six clearances and 421 metres gained in Hawthorn's loss to Richmond.

Although yet to lace his boots at AFL level, the No. 7 pick from the 2021 draft has already drawn comparisons to head coach Sam Mitchell due to his bullish play and level head.

The latest chapter in Hawthorn's historic rivalry with the Roos is set to commence at 1:10 pm AEDT at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.