HAWTHORN champion Jarryd Roughead will retire with "no regrets", adamant he made the right choice to play his 15th and final season in brown and gold rather than elsewhere.
The four-time premiership player, dual All Australian and 2013 Coleman medallist will return to the Hawks' senior side on Sunday against Gold Coast for what could be his farewell appearance.
ROUGH LOVE Hawks confirm farewell game for club great
Hawthorn ended speculation on Monday afternoon about whether the 32-year-old forward would return to AFL ranks one last time when it confirmed he would face the Suns.
The door is ajar for him to also make the trip west to face the Eagles in round 23, which could determine the Hawks' finals fate.
Roughead has played more VFL games (10) than AFL matches (seven) this year, after being dropped ahead of Hawthorn's round eight clash with Greater Western Sydney.
However, he will enter the football afterlife proud about playing his entire career – spanning 282 games so far – for one club.
It wasn't like, 'You've got to play me otherwise I'll crack the sads' … I'm not bigger than the club. The club's perfect - Jarryd Roughead
"I'm good. 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 on Tuesday morning.
"I've had a great time here, and I've been able to do what not many people can do. To say I've been at one club is something pretty special.
"I guess I wasn't worried either way, really, (about receiving a farewell match), because I understood where the club was going in terms of blooding youth and getting games into some kids.
Team mates and family pack Jarryd Roughead’s retirement media conference. 282 AFL games, 4 Premierships, Hawthorn captain for 2 years, courageously fought cancer..not bad for a bloke who only ever aspired to make the Leongatha “Parrots” senior team !! # 7NewsMelb pic.twitter.com/6xW426G1oQ— NickMcCallum7 (@NickMcCallum7) August 13, 2019
"It's worked out – it's very nice that I can be able to play this Sunday – but it wasn't like, 'You've got to play me otherwise I'll crack the sads' … I'm not bigger than the club. The club's perfect."
His thought process at that stage was humorously interrupted by his screaming 18-month-old daughter, Pippa, who was in attendance with his wife, Sarah.
Rough ride: Jarryd and Pippa on Tuesday. Picture Getty Images
"Come on, Pip – three minutes (into the media conference). You didn't even last that long," Roughead said to fits of laughter.
At that moment, Alastair Clarkson (Roughead's coach for the duration of his career) chipped in: "She squeals like her old man, too."
Clarkson revealed they all-but made up their mind six weeks ago about Roughie playing this game against the Suns.
Golden years: Jarryd Roughead, Luke Hodge and Jordan Lewis with the 2014 cup. Picture: AFL Photos
But the final decision was always going to be made on Monday, Clarkson said.
It will be fitting if it is the end this weekend, given former Hawks football boss Mark Evans and Roughead's 2008 premiership teammate Stuart Dew now sit in key posts at Gold Coast.
"A couple of weeks ago we were thinking one of Rough's great mates, Grant Birchall, would be playing his 250th and sharing that with Roughy on Sunday afternoon," Clarkson said.
"So it was going to be a celebration of both, in a sense, but Birchall unfortunately got hurt. These things happen in footy, so you can't always guarantee these things.
"As it's turned out, this week was a game we thought he could play in and make a contribution to us, hopefully, being able to win and keep our season alive."
For Clarkson, three words define Roughead's involvement at Waverley Park since being the No.2 draft pick in 2004, ahead of teammates and fellow top-10 selections Lance Franklin and Jordan Lewis.
Courage, dignity and humility.
Roughead's well-documented cancer battle, which doctors gave him the all-clear from in late 2016, saw him sit out that season as he fought for his life.
Roughie training in November of 2017 with floppy hat and and sun cream. Picture: AFL Photos
"In the last 40 or 50 games, ever since he came back from his illness, it's been a battle for him," Clarkson said.
"When you're trying to fight a disease like that, you're putting chemicals into your body to try and kill a hideous disease, but in the meantime you kill some other things as well.
"He made no fuss of those things, but he played about 50 games since he returned and it's been a battle for him, because he could no longer do some of the things he could do prior to his illness, which was a shame.
Hawthorn fans, in 2016, show their support for a club great. Picture: AFL Photos
"But he's battled on manfully and led our club in that period of time and he's shown the way for so many of our younger players and he'll leave a long legacy at this footy club for the contribution he's made."
Roughead's in the process of figuring out his next chapter in football and was spotted recently touring St Kilda's facilities, while the Suns have also spoken to him.
It won't be as a coach, with his interests more so in leadership, culture and list management.
"You guys have been reporting a lot about what I'm going to do, so it's finally good that you asked me, isn't it?" Roughead said.
"I'd like to stay in footy. It's just a matter of sitting down now after these next two weeks and working out probably where's best for me."
Roughead's 572 goals to date may have paid his bills, but it's the four flags which he holds dearest to him.
Hawthorn's 2014 triumph, the second of its famous three-peat, is his favourite, given the Hawks exacted revenge on Sydney from the Grand Final two years earlier.
"I'll get to celebrate every five years, because they're called reunions," he said.
"The fact I've been able to play in four winning Grand Finals is what we play footy for.
"Yes, it's been a great 15 years, but to say I have a reunion every five years for the rest of my life is pretty cool."