Leongatha’s Jarryd Roughead added another AFL premiership medallion to his collection last Saturday in a year when he played a major role, both on and off the field, in the club’s corporate and playing success.
THERE can be no doubt that Leongatha’s Jarryd Roughead took his football career to a whole new level in 2014.
And you only needed to see the cartoon caricatures of ‘Roughy’ and his mate ‘Buddy’ Franklin, by Mark Knight, on the front page of the Herald Sun last Saturday to see that.
It was pretty heady stuff.
Only the Prime Minister Tony Abbott and maybe Joe Hockey at Federal Budget time, would get that sort of treatment.
He was also featured on the front page of the Grand Final Football Record.
So he’s big news in this State, bigger news than he was when he won the Coleman Medal in 2013, when he was also named All-Australian for the first time and won his second premiership medallion.
Others have won those accolades and not achieved the “cult hero” status that Roughy has attained.
How has it happened?
Over the course of the past few years, Roughy has progressively assumed more and more responsibility as a spokesperson for the Hawthorn Football Club and with his football-loving, country nature shining through, has become a favourite on the airwaves and with footy fans of all persuasions.
But it’s a double-edged sword when you are constantly in the limelight and you’ve got to back it up out on the ground as well which Roughy has done in spades this year.
During the season he passed the significant 200-game milestone, was again named all-Australian and in the absence of Buddy, stepped up and took over the leadership of the Hawks’ forward line, crucially delivering in several key matches late in the season, including with six match-winning goals in the pivotal game of the final series against Port Adelaide two weeks ago.
It’s because of these performances that he has been painted as the opposing force to the Buddy juggernaut, further increasing his profile in the footy world, and outside of it. This year’s grand final triumph was his crowning achievement.
Not only did he contribute five goals to team’s final tally of 21 but he set up several others with his deceptively fast hands and vigour at the stoppages, also providing leadership on the ground.
He’s a difficult proposition to match-up on up forward with his ability to get off the chain while taking a role on the ball, something that often kick-starts his day as it did on Saturday.
It’s a unique set of skills that now makes him one of the most valuable and sustainable players in the league.
On a day when there were so many good Hawthorn players, he wasn’t named in the “best” but he was one of the best and at 27 years of age, there’s potentially a lot more footy left in him.
Where are the challenges now… 300 games, more premierships, a media career and a chance to use his high profile to establish his own charity foundation?
Who knows but whatever he does he has a local community that feels very proud and inspired by his achievements to date.
Flying high with Roughy
By Mitch Guy
JARRYD Roughead’s premiership glory was not only enjoyed by the big man himself, his family and friends were over the moon with the result.
His father Michael sat on the second level at the MCG above the Hawthorn cheersquad with his daughter Emily, son Cameron and Jarryd’s partner Sarah Dunn.
“It was great, he’s my little boy and he’s a superstar isn’t he? It’s weird,” he said.
“I’m disgustingly proud of him.”
“You want your kids to be happy and healthy, at the moment he’s more than happy and more than healthy.”
Michael joined his son in the rooms after the match and congratulated him on becoming a three-time premiership player.
“I got in the rooms and got a cuddle off him, what more do you want?” he said.
The premiership celebrations spilled over to Jarryd’s house in Hawthorn on Sunday where the players enjoyed a day of fun together.
“You turn the telly on and it just makes you smile,” Michael said.
“I woke up feeling great on Sunday and every day keeps getting better.”
It hasn’t always been easy for Jarryd, with a serious Achilles injury derailing his 2011 season. But his father said whenever something’s gone wrong with him he works hard to get it right.
“History tells me when Jarryd wants something he just decides what he wants and zeroes in on it,” he said.
“He just does what he has to do to get it and he’s very good at it.”
Locals showed plenty of interest in the game with the former Leongatha Parrot playing an important part in the outcome of the match and former Leongatha local Matt Stevic officiating the match as a field umpire.
Now everyone seems to know about Jarryd’s home town.
There were plenty of references to the ‘boy from Leongatha’ at both the presentation of the premiership medallions at the MCG on Saturday and at the Glenferrie Oval on Sunday where ‘Roughy’ issued a light-hearted challenge to his old club the Parrots.
“I guess I’m better off up here at the moment,” he said.
“They didn’t have any teams in the finals this year.”
Always one to be generous with his time and his support for his former club, Jarryd will no doubt be hoping to see big improvements under new coach Beau Vernon and his team next season.
From the club’s perspective, Leongatha Parrots Secretary Matthew Grylls said everyone at the club was happy for Roughy.
“We’re really proud of him and his achievements should really be recognised,” he said.
“It’s fantastic to see a kid from a small country town go on and do what he’s done.
“We’re always over the moon when you see juniors from Leongatha come up and achieve at the highest level, let alone what he’s achieved.”
There is every possibility the Leongatha grandstand could be named in Roughy’s honour.