THERE’S little doubt that the TV footage of Hawthorn great Jarryd Roughead wheeling around on to his left boot to snap the sixth and final goal of his “farewell match” on Sunday will be included in any highlight reel of his stellar career.
It was a helluva way for the champion former Leongatha footballer to sign off in his 283rd match.’
Will it be his last?
Right now, that doesn’t matter. The big fella has already done it all, well, almost all. He would have loved to emulate the feats of his great mates Jordan Lewis, Lance Franklin and Luke Hodge in passing the 300-game milestone had illness and injury not intervened.
But four premierships, two years as captain, two all-Australian selections, a Coleman Medal and a game for Australia in the International Rules team, among many other highlights of a terrific career is quite something all the same.
“It was a ripping day. Fantastic. Could not have hoped for better,” said Jarryd in a short interview with the Sentinel-Times.
“I’ve always had great support from home, and it was good to see plenty of familiar faces there again on Sunday as well.”
Leongatha assistant coach Kristin Gray was sitting with a group of 14 Leongatha locals and had a fantastic day.
“Loved it. It was a really different atmosphere. Everyone was there for Roughy and when he kicked that first goal they just went off.
“To have Jarryd and Dyson up there, both captains of their clubs and really putting Leongatha on the map with such great careers has been an absolute delight. The club is just so proud of them both, but particularly the way Roughy has gone about it.”
Still not over!
Coach Alastair Clarkson left the door open in his after-match press conference during which he showered praise on a great servant of the club.
“We’ll see how all that unfolds this week,” said Clarkson.
“Rough’s made it a bit more difficult but there’s a part of me that says, gee, that’s not a bad way to end your career, six goals in a big win, in front of your home fans is a pretty special way to finish up but we’ll have a discussion about it during the week.
“We’ll have a look at the weather conditions and the balance of our side, the sort of side West Coast is going to put out there, a lot of things will come into play, but in terms of form he didn’t do his chances any harm with the way he played today. I thought he went really well, and it was a really fitting day for him.
“It’s been a special week for our club. There’s been a lot of stories told. We had Bud, Jordan Lewis, Hodgey and Grant Birchall, just guys who have been really close mates of his over the journey, a lot of highs and a lot of lows. That’s quite often the case with guys who play 12, 13, 14, 15 years of footy.
There are a lot of challenges to endure through that period of time and he’s had to do it harder than most through an Achilles and PCL injury. They’re nasty footy injuries and harder for a big fella to recover from. He’s always demonstrated a remarkable resilience especially through his footy injuries. He’s come through them really well… he rolled the sleeves up and got on with it. And he dealt with an even bigger challenge with his cancer, which he approached with the same attitude. He’s been a marvel for our footy club.”
In typical fashion though, last week, it was all about the team and less about himself in the lead up to Sunday’s match: “It’s great that I can play this week, but it wasn’t like you have to play me or I’ll crack the sads,” he told the media.
In that context though, he deserved his spot and left nothing out there racking up 14 possessions, six goals and two tackles in a performance that could easily warrant Brownlow votes… not bad in your final match.
And it was all smiles on the boundary and in the rooms afterwards where he was greeted by family and friends.
What a journey he has taken us all on, so far, and if Channel Seven has it right, there’s a coaching career beckoning if he does choose to hang up the boots this season.