Hawthorn’s winning farewell for a diamond in the Rough
Ostensibly, and no doubt in coach Alastair Clarksons pre-match discourse, this match was about Hawthorns quest to keep their flickering finals campaign burning.
But in reality, this match revolved around just one of the 44 footballers who ran onto Marvel Stadium: it was all about farewelling Jarryd Roughead in his last home game.
By the final siren Hawthorn had achieved its twin objectives, registering a percentage-boosting 70-point win, while giving their former skipper a chance to ride off in style with a six-goal "moment in the Suns".
His six goals were his best return since the seven he bagged against the Bulldogs in round three 2015.
Proceedings began with Roughead jogging out of the tunnel with his teammates, embracing wife Sarah and carrying his young daughter Pippa through a banner adorned with a towering image of him wearing the famous No.2 guernsey, alongside the words: 'Thanks Rough.'
At the opening bounce Roughead headed down to full-forward, where he was hugged by goal umpire David Rodan and was picked up by a Gold Coast opponent, Charlie Ballard, who was aged five when an 18-year-old Roughead made his AFL debut in April 2005.
Only three members of that Hawthorn team are still playing in 2019 and all are now at other clubs: Luke Hodge, Lance Franklin and Jordan Lewis. That trio was in the Hawthorn rooms before the match.
Roughead had the chance to open the scoring after two minutes when he sharked a boundary throw-in and wheeled onto his favoured left foot, only to be pushed off his snap for goal.
But his moment came just four minutes later when Chad Wingard streamed away from a centre clearance and took two bounces before drilling a delightful pass to Roughead. After the ensuing 40-metre shot sailed through for a goal, Roughead hooked both thumbs under his jumper to proudly display the famous brown and gold stripes and was swamped by 17 teammates.
He then ran to interchange bench to a standing ovation.
But he was not done with his opening-quarter show. On 28 minutes he produced a front-and-centre crumb, cleanly gathering a ball that spilled from a marking contest and running in to tap home a second goal with his right foot.
The next ''Roughy moment'' did not even involve him touching the football: Two minutes into the second quarter the crowd spontaneously erupted into applause as a tribute to their cherished No.2.
By the time he bumped young defender Caleb Graham out of a marking contest midway through the third quarter and converted his third goal, the crowd was chanting ''Roughy, Roughy''. And they were on their feet again eight minutes later when a generous free kick for an off-the-ball hold gifted Roughead a fourth goal.
Perhaps his best two goals came in the final quarter, firstly when he plucked an overhead mark in the hot-spot in front of goal and converted his fifth. He followed that up late in the quarter by running on to left-foot snap from an acute angle for his sixth goal.
Other than the Roughy show, the most noteworthy aspects of this Hawthorn win were another hard-nosed contribution from James Worpel, the run of Isaac Smith, Chad Wingward, Blake Hardwick and Tom Scully, and the decision to use ruckman Ben McEvoy as a key defender on Sam Day/Jack Lukosius, perhaps with an eye to the tall West Coast forward line next Saturday night.
In truth this match lacked intensity, at times exhibiting about as much fierceness and pressure as a game of AFLX. It will have done little to prepare the Hawks for the Eagles on the rebound in Perth as they look to pinch a spot in the eight.
And the reality is that for all of the warmth and goodwill Hawks fans showed to their four-time premiership hero against the Suns – and notwithstanding his six goals – there would be concerns about him replicating this performance in faster and more ferocious contests at Optus Stadium nest week and in any September matches that might follow.
Both teams formed a guard of honour for Roughead, who was chaired off the field by Ben Stratton and Shaun Burgoyne.
On the rough end of a Smith pass
It' may be the first time that Hawthorn fans have booed Jack Gunston for taking a mark 45 metres out from goal.