LEONGATHA’S Jarryd Roughead joined the ranks of the Hawthorn immortals last Saturday when he played a key role in the club’s fifth AFL grand final and fourth premiership in eight years.
He had 26 possessions, including nine handballs and 17 kicks, and while he was credited with only one tackle it was a beauty, and he played his role for the team to perfection on the day.
He was involved in several goal assists when the game was there to be won. He took his turn through the centre, limiting the breakaway effectiveness of Naitanui and Priddis, filled in as ruckman
around the ground, hit his targets, kicked a controversial goal and chased and applied pressure at every turn.
And in so doing, he enhanced his reputation as the most versatile player in the game.
When the siren sounded, an exhilarated Roughead put his hands to his head and took a moment to comprehend what had just happened, then rushed off to share the moment with Hawks’ skipper and four-time premiership team mate Luke Hodge; the pair joining in an animated embrace.
Shortly afterwards his thoughts clearly turned to family, friends and the fans; seeking out finance Sarah Dunn for a premiership embrace, giving the thumbs up to friends and family in the crowd and then helping to orchestrate the involvement of the Hawks’ faithful directly in the celebrations.
For Jarryd, who dealt with a very serious health issue little more than two months earlier, when his path back to football was listed as “uncertain” at best, the effort must have been something extra special.
But he said afterwards all four premierships were special in their own way.
“It’s no different. They’re all special.
“We had to go the long way around this year in terms of playing all four finals but I think we’ve only lost one final in three years, and two in four years so it’s been pretty good.“It hasn’t sunk in yet. It’s only 6.30pm and no doubt over the next couple of hours we’ll have a bit of fun.”
The man credited with establishing the Hawks’ modern era, Ian Dicker, spoke warmly of Jarryd’s contribution to the club after the win, both as a player and as a person.
“Roughy has been a terrific acquisition to the club as a player but he’s also a wonderful bloke, so down to earth, and a great mate.”
Brian Kann, who played 57 matches with Hawthorn from 1954 to 1959 including in an historic breakthrough final series for the Hawks in 1957 stayed in the stands long after the celebrations had died away.
He said the culture of the club was no fluke and ‘Roughy’ fitted in superbly with it.
“They don’t put up with any nonsense on or off the field. They deal with those things quickly and the people who don’t want to toe the line are quietly moved on,” he said.
“I’ve been invited along tonight but I think I’ll let the youngsters have their fun.”
So much has happened this year in AFL football generally, at Hawthorn in particular and also for ‘Roughy’ personally that it no doubt adds a strong dose of perspective to this year’s success.
And it may also explain why Jarryd played with such composure in the heat of the battle last Saturday.