One of the AFL’s cult heroes, Jarryd Roughead has carved a place amongst the competition’s elite as an athletic forward blessed with excellent agility and strong hands. A talented junior basketballer good enough to contest several underage national championships, Roughead began to concentrate on football at 15 with immediate results. He gained a place in the AIS-AFL Academy in 2003 after an excellent National Bank’s AFL Under 16 Championships and gained senior experience by playing for Leongatha in the Gippsland Latrobe Football League during his final junior year, under the guidance of former AFL stars Paul Hudson and Andrew Dunkley.
With 40-plus goals during the 2004 TAC Cup season with Gippsland Power, Roughead underlined his versatility and was taken by Hawthorn with pick 2 at the 2004 NAB AFL Draft. A return of 16 games in his debut season, capped by a nomination for the NAB Rising Star, was a super result for both Roughead and the Hawks. After a solid year in 2006, Hawthorn swung the left footer forward in 2007 with immediate success, kicking 40 goals and announcing himself as a player of the future.
In 2008, Roughead delivered an impressive 75 goals and was a vital cog in Hawthorn’s Premiership team. He began 2009 equally impressively with a career best eight goals against Carlton. Unfortunately injuries curtailed Roughead’s output for the rest of the year, but he was still able to post an accurate 51.27 for the season and played his 100th AFL game.
In season 2011, Roughead was enjoying his best year to date until he tore his achilles against Geelong in Round 12 which put him out of action for the remainder of the year. Roughead made a return in 2012, playing 23 games including all of Hawthorn’s finals. In 2012, he surpassed the 150 game milestone.
2013 was a career best season for Roughead, winning the Coleman medal, playing in his second Premiership with the Hawks, named in in the 2013 All Australian team and coming runner up in the Hawks Best and Fairest. In 2014 he completed another successful year with the Hawks culminating in another Premiership. There was no stopping Jarryd and the Hawks in 2015 playing in his third Premiership in a row and being named an All Australian.
Roughead missed the first half of the 2016 season with a posterior cruciate ligament injury to his knee. In May, Roughead received news a melanoma on his lip had spread and he stepped away from football to receive treatment. Late in 2016, Roughead received positive news and the all-clear from doctors following months of immunotherapy, and was looking to return to footy early in the 2017 season. He successfully did so. Jarryd played 22 games for the 2017 season, including his 250th game for the club. He lead the club throughout the season as many senior players were sidelined through injury. In conjunction with kicking 38 goals for the season, Jarryd placed 6th in Hawthorn’s Best and Fairest count.
With an endearing demeanour and a typically country character, Roughead has remained grounded throughout his AFL success. In the media, Roughead’s unique style was a welcome part of Gold 104 breakfast show with Bridge and Lehmo across 2015-2017, with the Hawk forward also appearing regularly on The Footy Show. Roughead is one of Asics’ major AFL ambassadors along with also becoming an ambassador for Toyota.