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Aussie Rules

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Roughy retires a true Hawk with no regrets

Courageous. Dignified. Humble.

If Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson is forced to pick just three of the many outstanding traits retiring AFL champion Jarryd Roughead possesses those are the qualities that strike him most.

The master coach was glowing in his praise of the four-time premiership champion as the pair sat side by side at a packed press conference at the AFL club on Tuesday.

Roughead's well-documented battle with cancer is what comes to mind for many when considering his 282-game career, and it was a fight that Clarkson said had touched the hearts of all concerned.

There were also countless other ailments - a snapped Achilles tendon and a posterior cruciate ligament injury among them - that he fought more privately.

"He is just so tough and resilient and was such a great example to the rest of his teammates," Clarkson said.

"He never complained, he just got on with it and played sore a lot and no one knew, not even me.

"Sometimes the physios would know but half the time he wouldn't tell them either ... the great beauty of him is that he's very selfless and put the team ahead of himself so often.

"If I was asked to define one thing it would his courage to manage those sorts of ailments that he had over the journey, his dignity in terms of the way that he handled himself in adversity, as well as his humility."

Clarkson marvelled at the way Roughead fought off the skin cancer that threatened his life and his ability to get back on an AFL field after missing the entire 2016 season, although he also acknowledged the battle had taken it's toll on him as a player.

"He could no longer do some of the things he could do prior to his illness, which was a shame," the coach said.

Roughead is at peace with the tough decision he knew was coming over a year ago.

The 32-year-old is thrilled he will retire as a one-club player and has no regrets about passing up longer-term opportunities at other clubs to stay with the Hawks for what would be his 15th and final season.

He did so knowing that senior opportunities could dry up as Clarkson embarked on a youth movement and that turned out to the case as he has managed just seven AFL games.

Melbourne-based fans will get the chance to farewell Roughead when he plays against Gold Coast at Marvel Stadium on Sunday.

But he could hold his spot for the Hawks' final game of the home-and-away season against West Coast in Perth if his form warrants it.

"I guess I wasn't worried either way really because I understood where the club was going in terms of blooding youth and getting games into some kids," Roughead said.

"It's worked out (OK) ... it's very nice that I can be able to play this Sunday, but it wasn't like: 'You've got to play me otherwise I'll crack the sads'.

"I understood where the club is at and I'm not bigger than the club."

--End of article--

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