Diamond in the Rough


Diamond in the Rough

PARTY TIME: Roughy celebrates his fourth of six goals against the Gold Coast Suns at Marvel Stadium on Sunday, his last game in Melbourne. The football champion was a big part of his team’s 70-point win. 
Photo credit Herald Sun

In 1999, a brash teenager from Leongatha told his teacher he didn’t need to do any homework because he was going to be a champion footballer.

If you talk the talk you have to back it up by walking the walk and that’s exactly what Jarryd Roughead did.

His retirement from the AFL was played out on Sunday when team-mates chaired him from the field to celebrate his 15 years at the top.

Those years also included four premierships.

“I was a raw 18-year-old kid from Leongatha. My dream was to play senior Leongatha footy so to play AFL was just beyond my wildest dreams,” he said.

From 1999 to 2003 the Hawthorn great played for the Parrots, starting at the U16s at just 13 years old and then moving into the senior side for multiple games.

While the most his senior team achieved was playing in a losing grand final, Roughy’s time at the club has always remained with him.

“I didn’t get to win a grandfinal but it’s where I made some of my best mates; I’ve always had good memories of the Parrots,” he said.

“Half my lifetime has been at Leongatha and the other half has been at the Hawks so that’s all I’ve known for 32 years.”

For Roughy’s first coach at the club, Ken ‘Cactus’ Fleming, the accomplishments of the talented player he once had in his ranks come as no surprise.

“I could always tell he’d go on to do bigger and better things, he was just a natural,” he said.

“As the years went on it was just fantastic to see how good he turned out to be.”

With four premierships won, including three in a row in 2013, 14 and 15, a Coleman Medal and two All-Australian selections, Roughead has achieved things he could only dream of when pulling on his first Hawthorne jumper in 2004.

“If you told any kid they’d have a career like this, they’d jump at it straight away,” he said.

“I’ve been able to live a childhood dream and succeed at the top.”


His greatest battle


Greater than those achievements though, is Roughy’s successful battle with cancer.

After being diagnosed with a recurrence of Melanoma (lip cancer) in 2016, he fought through eight months of treatment to remarkably return to the field.

The footy champion remains grateful for the support he received from the football community and his hometown in Leongatha through the challenging period.

“It’s not something you wish anyone has to go through,” he said.

“When you’re up against something like that you know you’ve got everyone in your corner, so to have all that support really meant a lot.”

While Roughy prepares to hang his boots up for the last time, there is no doubt about the impact he has had.

His mark will forever be left on the game and his hometown.

“It’s really important to have a local kid come out of your town and it just gives the younger players especially a bit of incentive to know that they can do it someday,” coach Fleming said.

As for what his future holds, Roughy will wait and see.

“I’m not sure what will happen yet,” he said.

“I’m ready for what’s next but I might have to be a full-time dad for now.”


Daniel Renfrey 

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Posted by on Aug 23 2019. Filed under Featured, Sport. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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