HAWTHORN veteran Jarryd Roughead has received widespread praise for providing in-game advice to opposition defender Reuben William in the VFL on Sunday.

But that embrace might not have occurred without the ambitious mindset of the lesser known member of the narrative.

William, a 21-year-old VFL-listed player for Footscray, says he actively sought the guidance of Roughead when the opportunity presented itself.

"How to play on a big pretty much, it was just sort of me asking the question," William told AFL.com.au.

"I'm always willing to learn and he's always happy to give back, so we were just having a back and forth conversation. He gets into such good spots. When my back's turned and I'm not looking at him he's really crafty."

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The dialogue between the pair in the MCG curtain-raiser was one of the feel-good moments of the weekend. Roughead and William both pointed up the field at various points in the conversation, which ended with a friendly tap to the chest from the 281-game forward.

Roughead was dropped from Hawthorn's senior side ahead of the game against GWS and featured at VFL level for the first time since 2012. He handled the demotion with humility and kicked five goals in a performance that senior coach Alastair Clarkson said shows "the measure of the man" post-match.

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William shares the view of his integrity, particularly given his willingness to help despite the two not having met before lining up against each other on the ground.

"He was kind enough to tell me to keep going at it. He's a great guy, one of the best opposition players I've played on to be honest and you can see he's got great character," William said.

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The developing defender has shown signs that he has the tools to play on the MCG on a more regular basis. William was drafted to Brisbane in the 2016 NAB AFL Rookie Draft and played three games prior to his delisting at the end of 2017.

He was arguably best-on-ground against Williamstown in round four this season and remains focused on his AFL dream.

"For me personally, obviously I'm still 21 so I've still got a lot of ambition to get back and play AFL football. I do think I've got the ability and the skill set so just little tips like that help," he said.

William has nominated for the 2019 Mid-Season Rookie Draft.