It was a celebration of all things Roughead at Marvel Stadium. From the huge banner with the big number two forward adorning it, to the LED fence with the message ‘Thanks Rough’ all around the ground.

Hawthorn royalty were in the change rooms – names like Hodge, Franklin and Lewis returned to the club to watch their mate, and  one of the last Hawks standing from their surprise 2008 flag run out for the last time…

… possibly.

The Hawks, or any team, really, could use six goals in a game against West Coast next week. Do the Hawks dare to dream?

Let’s check out the three sets of five important things.

FIVE IMPORTANT PLAYS

Jarryd Rougheads’ first goal came via some brilliance by Chad Wingard. The off-season pick-up burst through the middle with electric pace and changed direction to spot Roughead on the lead. The big fella had to stretch, but still was so clean with his hands – and the following kick through the middle brought a smile to his face. It was excellent to see every member of the Hawthorn team run to congratulate him, similar to scenes you’d see when a players kicks their first career goal. Except this was Roughead’s 573rd.

Liam Shiels kicked his first goal through a roving effort, but it was Hawthorn’s reluctance at first to go inside 50 that gave the Hawks time to plan. Luke Breast, Ricky Henderson and Worpel each had the ball and corralled their opponents, with Worpel almost getting caught. Henderson kicked in to the square where the ball bobbled around until it landed in Shiels’ hands in tight surroundings as he extended the Hawks’ lead.

The veteran Jarrod Harbrow started a terrific play from the backline that ended in a goal to George Horlin-Smith. It was Alex Sexton, however, who used the umpire as a way to shephard Isaac Smith from reaching him. This was very cluey play by Sexton, and the reason he was a thorn in the side of o many teams early in the season. His kick landed inside 50 to no one in particular but in a rare instance inside the Suns forward 50, they actually outnumbered the Hawks and Ben King picked the ball up, handed to former-Cat, Horlin-Smith who kicked the six pointer. The Suns’ third quarter form was pretty impressive after a poor first half, notching three scores before the Hawks even had one.

Lachie Weller was a bit of a party pooper, executing a great rundown on Roughead on a probably would’ve been another Rough shot at goal. Where’s your sense of theatre, Lachie? Credit must be given to the guy that Gold Coast paid a huge price to obtain two years ago; that rundown was desperate in a game where desperation wasn’t high on the agenda. You could see Weller having eyes only for one man. Sprinting from a long way back, Weller hunted Roughead down and got his reward.

Puopolo’s clean hands and ability to read the fall of the ball at a contest were evident deep into extra time of the final quarter. He gathered and launched a huge handball to O’Meara who looked up to see Roughead as the only target forward. The big fella had some distance on his opponent, and O’Meara hit him perfectly. Roughead didn’t make the best connection on the kick, but a minute later produced a crafty snap that around the body at full pace (or as full as Roughie’s pace gets these days) to put the icing on his own cake.

FIVE IMPORTANT PLAYERS

Chad Wingard now seems to be enjoying his first year at Waverley and this game was among his best. He’s averaged 24 touches in the past five weeks and had 22 today. The medium forward was seen throughout the midfield on plenty of occasions and he excels in both positions. His blistering speed in the centre of the ground in the first quarter was pivotal to provide Jarryd Roughead his first opportunity, and was one of two goal assists. Roughead paid the favor back to Wingard in the fourth quarter, the former Port Adelaide player getting on the board with two goals himself. Another integral part of Wingard’s game is his tackling, recording a game-high ten tackles in this one.

Jarryd Roughead, what can you say? A momentous night in what was hailed his final game before hanging up the boots. He pressed his case for another run. A player like Roughead won’t be demanding another selection, but six goals is an arguable case for Alastair Clarkson’s consideration. He has now kicked three or more goal 100 times across his decorated career which is no easy feat. The Hawks delivery inside 50 went to Roughead often, and he always provided a contest that made the Hawthorn supporters cheer at every possibility of something amazing occurring. He asserted himself with a commanding presence in packs to mark strongly overhead and created chances at ground level too. His second and sixth goals were the best of the afternoon – roving out the back into an open goal square and running onto a loose ball and snapping around his body, respectively.

It’s hard to believe that James Worpel is a second-year player. He’s played every game this season and is averaging 26.86 disposals a game. Against Gold Coast he had 34 disposals, 20 of which were contested as he covered all areas of the ground. He was involved in seven scores and had 13 clearances as he propelled the ball inside 50 seven times. Both his stats for contested possessions and clearances are career-highs, again highlighting a breakout year for someone who’s played just 32 games.

For the Suns, all eyes were on Pearce Hanley who tried all game to invent a way forward for his team. He had 18 disposals up until the main break and finished with 34 to lead the Suns under the roof at Marvel. Like most of his team, turnovers hurt and cost them in places, but Hanley is commanding down back and his experience is pivotal.

James Sicily is a player opposition coaches want to pay close attention to and Stuart Dew’s choice to have Jack Bowes stick with the fiery Hawk all game paid dividends. Sicily only had 12 touches for the game. Granted so did Bowes, but the Gold Coast tagger had nine contested possessions. Bowes tackled well, holding his opponent up five times over the course of the match, and we know how Sicily can play, so the effort by Bowes to shut him down and not allow him to impact the contest should be commended.

FIVE IMPORTANT DECISIONS

Touk Miller took an advantage after a Brayden Fiorini tackle on Jaeger O’Meara but was pressured and didn’t put enough carry on the kick. The ball landed a couple of metres from a one-on-one contest which the Hawks were able to control and get it away from any danger. It wasn’t Miller’s best effort and he should’ve sized up his options a lot better. If there is one knock on Miller, it would be his decision making. His contested work is wonderful, as is his tackling, and he is a hard worker, but errors in disposal are so costly at this level.

Could it have been a push in the back to Gold Coast as Roughead  ‘used his body’ and marked before kicking his third goal? Perhaps, but probably not. It looked like a matter of experience v youth, as second-gamer Caleb Graham was outmuscled by Roughead who used his used his hip to make contact with the side of the Suns youngster before getting him partly in the back, but the bulk of the contact came at that first point and gave Rough the right spot to clunk the mark and convert

Ben McEvoy played an unfamiliar role down back in this game and when coming from behind midway through the third quarter, he caught Darcy MacPherson high in a marking contest, but the umpire put the whistle away in this instance. It was one of the more obvious free kicks in the game, but with the lack of crowd response, you could be forgiven for missing it.

There was a very rough deliberate out of bounds free kick  paid against Tom Scully who, won a two-on-one, soccered the ball across the ground towards the boundary line and looked flabbergasted as the whistle blew. Scully was probably 20 metres from the line but everyone still ran to get another possession as the ball may have stayed in. Makes you wonder how it can be deliberate if all the players think it’s staying in, huh? Scully and the two Suns were close to the ball when it trickled over the line, but it appeared as though all Scully was trying to do was clear some extra space. There was no intention for him to see it completely over the line.

Probably one of the most important decisions to come out of this game is one that Alastair Clarkson must make during the week regarding Jarryd Roughead. A tribute game in Melbourne for the final time (barring any miraculous finals action), Roughead turned up with six goals, leaving Clarko scratching his head come selection time. A performance like that won’t go unnoticed but contributions from O’Brien and Breust can be handy come gameday too, and if Mitch Lewis is available, surely he has the runs on the board this season to regain his spot now that farewells are done with?

 

FIVE IMPORTANT OUTTAKES

Gold Coast weren’t waiting to get numbers forward, even when it was held up in neutral territory. Too many times the kick came into an area where they were outnumbered, two on one. Either way, it often appeared crowded in the Suns forward line, indicating it wasn’t easy for their forwards to properly take a mark or get a clean avenue to goal, It is also a testament to the Hawks defensive setup. Too many short handballs to guys right next to them saw Gold Coast put themselves under all sorts of pressure and Hawthorn should’ve probably could’ve penalised them more than they did.

Gold Coast started the second half well, with the first three scoring shots which included two goals to Jordan Murdoch and George Horlin-Smith. The other score came in the form of a missed set shot from Ben Ainsworth. Gold Coast were willing to take the game on in the third quarter and make hold Hawthorn up. It worked for a while, with the Suns content to chip it back and forth along the last line of defence until they were forced to go to the wings. Hawthorn started to look flustered themselves early in the third quarter; vastly different to their whole game in the first half. The turnovers coming from attempting to force the action resulted in the early Gold Coast scores in the second half.

In previous weeks, the Suns have relied on Alex Sexton and Ben King to kick goals and they have been able to hit the scoreboard often. Today, however, the Suns forward line just couldn’t get a look in. Each of King’s and Sam Day’s first set shots drifted off for minor scores that you’d expect them to kick nine times out of ten. And with Peter Wright being out last week after stringing together a series of multiple-goal games, the Suns need to work on their efficiency kicking for goal. Michael Rischitelli kicked the first goal for the Suns from long range as a lesson in composure the younger Suns need to learn from.

The Hawks have some great players and it’s a credit to Clarkson to play them in different roles. Wingard especially excelled through the middle of the ground, and the decision to send McEvoy back worked out against the likes of King and Day. Oliver Hanrahan has smarts and, like Wingard, was seen using his pace to open up space inboard. The Hawks delivery inside 50 makes them a damaging side as they were quick to punish wayward Suns deliveries. Hawthorn scored 73 points from turnovers, and even more damning for the Suns, 46 of those came from forward half intercepts, showcasing how much pressure the Suns defenders were under as Hawthorn set up well across their forward half line.

Cheering on a champion no matter what is great to see and hear. You had a sense that the Hawks were going to do everything they could to make it a memorable game for Roughead. It looked like he hadn’t lost any of his touch as even when he didn’t have the ball directed to him, he still made good ground to be part of contests. The sounds of the game from the stands were a perfect soundtrack, however the commentators could’ve toned it down. For the spectacle that it was, and rightly so for a champion, pleading with the umpire to pay a free kick to Roughead all for the benefit of more goals was overworked. Just let the game play out and no matter what, the ending will be special no matter what, or how many goals he kicked. That being said, Jack Gunston’s reaction when he found out he’d marked in front of a leading Roughead was funny – almost apologetic, but it’s all about playing the game first, and celebrating a champion as part of it. Not vice-versa, especially when a faint hope of September lingers.

VOTES

3. Chad Wingard

2. James Worpel

1. Jarryd Roughead