HAWTHORN's list management team will hyper-analyse Jarryd Roughead's performances this season as the Hawks weigh up whether to extend the champion forward's career.
Roughead elected last year to stay at Waverley Park and fight for his future after a heart-to-heart chat with coach Alastair Clarkson about the possibility of him moving to a rival club.
The conversation was along similar lines to those Clarkson had with Sam Mitchell and Jordan Lewis at the end of the 2016 season before they were traded to West Coast and Melbourne respectively.
"It was basically, 'Roughy, you're out of contract next year, what do you want to do?'," Clarkson told AFL.com.au.
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"'Do you want to look at whether or not you want more security by exploring playing elsewhere and maybe getting two or three years, because they need someone of your leadership, experience and know-how?
"'Or, do you want to continue playing at Hawthorn and take your chances that you may get contracted beyond next year (2019)?'. He chose to stay, so it was an easy conversation."
However, the power now shifts from Roughead to the Hawks, with the four-time premiership player, 2013 Coleman medallist and former skipper requiring a new deal to play on.
He made a strong statement on Saturday night when he kicked five goals in Hawthorn's JLT Community Series finale against Richmond.
The challenge is whether Roughead, who has booted 563 goals in 275 matches since being the No.2 draft pick in 2004, can reproduce that effort on a more regular basis.
The 32-year-old fronted an at-times heated press conference in July last year to emphatically reject speculation he would retire at season's end after increasing scrutiny on his form.
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"His performance in the last two years wasn't to the level it had been for the bulk of his career," Clarkson said.
We need to do our due diligence as a club and wait until the appropriate time that we're convinced the contribution he can make is a really strong one for us.
"We need to use the course of this next 12 months to determine that.
"We've had those discussions and he knows that, and that's also part of his decision-making, knowing full well that he wants to see for himself whether he can make that contribution, too.
"He's a very proud man, so if he can't, he's going to know his time is up in the game."
Clarkson said making hard calls on his players was made simpler because of the "strong relationships" he developed with them over many years.
"I've been with these guys nearly every day of my life for the last 15 years, so they're easy conversations, really, in a sense, but it's just working out the timing of them," he said.
"You've been there through their first games, through all their hiccups with footy, through their marriages, the birth of their children, the illnesses to family members – the whole kit and caboodle.
"There are things that are certain in life and one of them is death, unfortunately, and we don't want to confront that, and one is that players' careers are going to end at some point in time."