Four-time Hawthorn premiership star Jarryd Roughead is thrilled he will retire as a one-club player and has no regrets he chose to stay with the Hawks for what would be his 15th and final AFL season.
The 32-year-old fronted a packed press conference at the AFL club on Tuesday after announcing he would retire at the end of the season on Monday evening.
Roughead, who will return to the AFL line-up this weekend, turned his back on opportunities for longer contracts at other clubs at the end of last year to sign a one-season deal.
He did so knowing that senior opportunities could dry up as the Hawks embarked on a youth movement and that turned out to the case as he has managed just seven AFL games.
But the full-forward is glad he didn’t follow the leads of premiership teammates Sam Mitchell and Jordan Lewis, who took longer deals to finish their careers elsewhere.
“I’ve probably known (retirement) was coming for 12 months or so, but I guess I’m happy because I’ve been able to be here for 15 years,” Roughead said.
“I’ve had a great time here, I’ve been able to do what not many people can do, and to say I’ve been at one club is something pretty special.”
Coach Alastair Clarkson, who sat beside the retiring champion on Tuesday, confirmed Melbourne-based fans will get the chance to farewell Roughead when he plays against Gold Coast at Marvel Stadium on Sunday.
But the coach also revealed Roughead 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 of the speculation over whether he would get the chance to add to his 282 senior appearances.
“It’s worked out (ok) … it’s very nice that I can be able to play this Sunday, but it wasn’t like it was, ‘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.
“The club’s perfect.”