NO ONE could have expected Jarryd Roughead to make such an impact on the competition in 2012 after coming back from a worrying Achilles tendon injury, sustained mid-way through 2011.
But the 25 year old, 193cm Leongatha export has emerged bigger and better than ever, stepping up to an important leadership role, both on and off the field, for the Hawks.
Due to the absence of Max Bailey for much of the season, he has shared rucking duties and forward work with David Hale, proving to be most valuable when the ball hits the deck at the stoppages where he has racked up 76 clearances (fourth for the Hawks) and 89 hard-ball gets (third) in the home and away season.
He was at it again on Saturday, not dominating on the stats sheet but having an important hand in many scoring opportunities, as well as contesting well up forward.
Obviously, it’s on the field where he’s most important but he’s also helped share a lot of media and promotional work for the Hawthorn Football Club this year as one of its co-vice captains with Jordan Lewis.
This week ‘Roughie’ spoke about the difference he felt in approaching this year’s grand final compared to the successful one in 2008 when they effectively ‘stole’ it from a rampant Geelong side.
“We were young in 2008, we’ve got to make the most of the opportunity now for sure,” he said of the precocious talent of four years ago that has since taken on leadership responsibility.
He also addressed what some have labelled ‘a lucky escape’ against Adelaide on Saturday.
“The good thing is we won and got through to the grand final.
“We’ve just got to finish off a bit better, especially in the first quarter. It will be a good platform for the rest of the game.”
Just being there clearly isn’t enough for Roughead, who was one of the missing ingredients from the club’s loss to Collingwood in the preliminary final last year, but they’ll have to improve their kicking for goal.
“We’ll just get out there and focus on what we’ve been doing all year,” Roughead said, in answer to the 13.19 scoreline that almost cost them a berth in the big one.
“We’ve got a couple of goal-kicking sessions this week, but not much has to change.
“We’ve got the confidence within the group to know that we can kick the goals.”
But there’s a big week ahead first. After last night’s Brownlow Medal event, there are several training sessions before a final, public hit-out at the Ricoh Centre, Waverley Park, Mulgrave, starting at about 12.15pm on Thursday, September 27.
Finally there’s the popular Grand Final Parade on Friday, commencing at midday in St Kilda Road, adjacent to the Victoria Arts Centre. Traditionally the parade travels north into Swanston Street, before turning right into Collins Street and concluding at 12.50pm with the presentation of the teams to the public on the steps of the Old Treasury Building in Spring Street.
Should he have success in Saturday’s grand final, it will be the second premiership in-a-week for the Roughead family.
It’s likely Jarryd received a text message about brother Cameron’s success in the thrilling Gippsland League Reserves’ Grand Final before running out in his own twilight final last Saturday.
Cam was in Leongatha’s best in the crucial preliminary final against Morwell the week before and also played well, supporting Nick Phelan in the ruck, in Saturday’s come-from-behind win over Sale.
There’ll be plenty of local support for ‘Roughie’ this week as he aims for his second flag, one that is likely to be all the more prized after his career-threatening injury last year and also due to the emotional capital he has invested in this year’s tilt as one of the team’s main leaders.
Huge challenge ahead for Leongatha’s Hawk