HAWTHORN champion Jarryd Roughead remains perplexed at speculation about his playing future – insisting he will play on in 2019 – but is open to relinquishing the captaincy.
Roughead, 31, fronted the media on Tuesday to address the increasing discussion about the potential of him retiring at season's end despite being contracted for next year.
His coach Alastair Clarkson said last week that he would speak to Roughead about his future once the Hawks' 2018 campaign closed.
"I'm contracted for next year, so I don't even know why I'm being asked the question, to be honest," the 270-gamer told reporters at Waverley Park.
"I understand it's part of the game. I'm a realist, too, and I understand when you get to 30, 31, these questions are going to come – no matter who you are.
"I still feel like I've got value amongst this group and I wouldn't want to give that up, because I keep having fun with these kids and keep having fun every day I get here."
In a wide-ranging media conference, an at-times irritated Roughead fielded questions on everything from his own form, the potential of Tom Lynch coming to Hawthorn and his previous cancer battle.
The 2013 Coleman medallist acknowledged the fact the Hawks traded club greats Sam Mitchell, Jordan Lewis and Luke Hodge was part of the reason for the narrative on his own future.
Roughead, a pivotal part of Hawthorn's four premierships under Clarkson, was emphatic on a number of matters, but left the door ajar on a captaincy change next season.
"Yeah, well, it's up to the group, really," Roughead said.
"If they vote me in, I'll be happy to do it, but at the same time understanding where the club's at and what may need to happen. We'll just deal with it when we have to."
Clarkson said a week ago that Roughead's form "wouldn't have been to the standard he would have liked throughout the course of this year".
He needs to slot 13 goals in the last five rounds – although the Hawks could make finals – to better his 2017 effort and avoid his lowest season tally in seven years.
But Roughead was adamant his form would not be topical if he had kicked more accurately than 26.20.
"I understand I haven't been playing to what I want to play like as well," he said.
"(But) if I'd been kicking a bit straighter, I'm probably not even having these conversations.
"I've kicked, what, 26.20? if that's 36.10, we're probably not even standing here answering these questions, are we?"
Roughead's average disposals, marks, goals and tackles are their lowest in several seasons, but he stacks up well in contested possessions, contested marks, score assists and inside 50s.
His durability can't be questioned, given he hasn't missed a match in the past two seasons since returning from a year off to beat cancer.
"If you think it's just about racking up games and more goals then I think it's a bit of a joke, really," Roughead said.
"I still want to play finals footy and be a part of this great club and I don't see why you'd have to give that up because you guys are on our back.
"In footy terms, I'm probably in credit. I always wanted to come back (from cancer), but you never actually knew, so now I'm back, I'm pretty much in credit."
The race for Lynch is reportedly down to Richmond, Collingwood and Hawthorn, but Roughead didn’t shed any light on the Hawks' pitch to the free agent.
"We'll be preparing for that whether (Lynch) comes or not, because we'll probably be standing here in 12 months' time and you'll be asking the same questions to me about whether or not I'm going on or not," he said.
"I saw that (Nathan Buckley has spoken to Lynch) … I'm not aware we have, but Hawthorn has been pretty good at keeping that close to their chest over the last few years as well.
"If 'Wrighty' (football boss Graham Wright) doesn't tell me, I'm pretty sure he's not going to tell you guys as well."