JARRYD Roughead has stepped down as Hawthorn captain after two years in the role.

The highly respected forward took the mantle as the club's skipper from Luke Hodge in 2017, having missed the entire season prior due to a knee injury and cancer treatment.

A four-time premiership player and two-time All Australian, Roughead enjoyed a 23-1-20 record across his two years as captain, leading the Hawks to the semi-finals in 2018.

Set to turn 32 in January, Roughead announced his decision via a statement on Tuesday.

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"It's been an honour and privilege to captain the club for the past two years, but I feel it's in the best interests of myself and the club to hand over the reins," Roughead said.

"Being captain is a big responsibility and I think the best thing for the team right now is that I focus on my own game and getting the best out of myself on the field. 

"Of course, I’ll still be around to support whoever fills the role next, but I think the club is ready for a new player to lead."

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Midfield duo Isaac Smith and Liam Shiels appear the best candidates to take over the captaincy in 2019, having shared the role of vice-captain throughout last season.

Ben Stratton and Jack Gunston were also in a five-man Hawthorn leadership group.

But the club is yet to make a decision on who will be the next skipper, with football boss Graham Wright saying it will use the summer to make a call on its next leader.

"Roughy has been a strong leader of our club for a number of years now," Wright said.

"He took on the role of captain at a time when he had a lot of things going on in his life and yet, as is the way with Rough, he put the club and its needs first.

"He has done a great job of guiding our emerging group over the past couple of seasons and we are grateful for the leadership and commitment he has shown.

"When Rough let us know of his intentions to step down from the role and focus on his footy, he had our complete support.

"We know that he will continue to lead by example amongst the group and we are equally confident that a new leader will step up and fill the void left by his departure."