Jarryd Roughead is no longer the dominant player he once was.
The Hawthorn champion doesn't kick as many goals as he used to. He doesn't get as much of the ball as he used to. He doesn't take as many contested marks as he used to. And he has lost most of the X-factor that made the Hawks so dangerous for the better part of a decade.
But if you think for even a second that Roughead isn't having an impact at Hawthorn in season 2019, you're completely off the mark. Just ask young forward Mitchell Lewis, who insists Roughead has played a monumental role in his development and does his best work behind closed doors.
"I really can't thank him enough," Lewis told ESPN. "He has been an enormous help with my forward craft, especially this year with transitioning into the AFL side.
"He's also shown me how to handle myself. Obviously he's a big presence up forward so I'm trying to take a little bit of that off him and be a presence when I'm in the forward line. The stuff he does on the training track and on game day [if] we are playing together is huge.
"Rough is an absolute champion of the game and he still has so much to offer us, whether he's playing or not."
🎙️ Is Buddy to Sydney paying off? 🤔— footytips (@footytips) June 25, 2019
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Ep. 15 of the @ESPNAusNZ pod:
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Roughead, now 32, was dropped for the Hawks' win over GWS by coach Alastair Clarkson following Round 7's disappointing loss to Melbourne. The four-time premiership star handled it with absolute class, though, going back to the VFL, racking up 17 disposals and kicking five goals in Box Hill's draw with Footscray on Sunday.
But the moment that caught everyone's eye at the Melbourne Cricket Ground was when Roughead began coaching his young Footscray opponent Reuben William.
"Look, he probably is [coaching him], knowing the guy," Roughead's former Hawthorn teammate Campbell Brown said in commentary for Channel 7. "He's probably just talking him through a couple of defensive aspects of the game. What a bloke."
Jarryd Roughead is coaching his opponents in the VFL 😅 pic.twitter.com/M3zE10YbD2— 7AFL (@7AFL) May 12, 2019
Lewis said Roughead's act of generosity spoke volumes about his character, and that was the reason why Hawthorn value him so much, whether he's out on the field playing or not.
"He's just great to have around the football club. He's a great character, he's well liked and he's got so much knowledge about the game," Lewis told ESPN. "I don't think it surprised anyone that he went back to the VFL and performed well."
Lewis, who has played four games for the Hawks in 2019 and booted a goal in each, looks a long-term prospect and a player who can take the torch from Roughead when he does decide to hang up the boots.
But when asked if he'd like to share the forward line with Roughead, Lewis was quick to say: "I'd love to! But you'd have to ask Clarko."