In the weekly AFL.com.au video series The Grill
, Jarryd Roughead is often the answer to the question posed to the players as to who is the friendliest opponent on the field.
Not many who meet Roughead fail to take a shine to one of the most amiable players in the AFL. At Hawthorn, he is truly beloved.
You can have fun with Roughead and the self-deprecation comes easily; the red hair, the pasty complexion, a generally laconic approach to life forged by his upbringing in sleepy Leongatha. He is very country.
But to harp on his casual nature would be to sell him short. He came into the AFL at the 2004 National Draft as the best key-position prospect.
The Hawks were supposedly set to take midfielder Richard Tambling with the second selection, leaving Roughead for Richmond two picks later. (The Western Bulldogs were long committed to Ryan Griffen with the third pick).
There were gaping holes everywhere in the Hawthorn list that needed filling, but new coach Alastair Clarkson went for the key positions first and grabbed Roughead at the earliest opportunity. The Hawks couldn't believe their good fortune when Lance Franklin was available three selections later.
Franklin and Roughead anchored the Hawks' forward line for the next nine seasons.
Franklin was the star, but Roughead was incredibly important as well. From the time he settled permanently in the forward line in 2007, he has not kicked fewer than 40 goals in a season, with the exception of 2011 when he tore his achilles midway through the year.
In the 2008 premiership season, Roughead played second fiddle to centurion Franklin but still kicked 75 goals himself. Last year, Roughead finally took star billing, kicking 72 goals and winning the Coleman Medal as Franklin played primarily up the ground.
It was a remarkable performance. Two years on from his debilitating injury, Roughead emerged as a far more complete player – a powerful mark, a straighter kick for goal and, most significantly, strong, agile and athletic enough for short but damaging bursts through the midfield.
His reward for a super season was a second premiership and his first All Australian selection and, in the eyes of many, stature at Hawthorn the equal of, perhaps even greater, than that of Franklin.
At 27, he is now a complete footballer and at the peak of his powers. Even last round against Adelaide, he may not have bothered the scorers but he led the Hawks with 10 tackles and set the scene for a grinding win on the road, so critical for Hawthorn's hopes of the double chance.
It should be a wonderful spectacle at the MCG in the second week of the split round. First facing third with Franklin returning to the MCG, this time as the enemy. It will be a confronting experience for every Hawthorn fan.
But then there's Roughead, a genuine Hawk hero, in his 200th game. The cheers for one favourite son really should drown out the jeers for another who chose to leave.