With the 2019 AFL draft in the rearview mirror and club lists finalised for 2020, we decided – despite overwhelming popular opinion – that it’s not at all too early to start speculating about the season ahead.
Hawthorn will have a new on-field leader in 2019 after four-time premiership forward Jarryd Roughead stepped down as captain of the AFL club after two years in the role.
The 31-year-old took over from three-time premiership skipper Luke Hodge ahead of the 2017 season, but has relinquished the role as he seeks to focus on his own form.
“It’s been an honour and privilege to captain the club for the past two years, but I feel it’s in the best interests of myself and the club to hand over the reins,” Roughead said.
“Being captain is a big responsibility and I think the best thing for the team right now is that I focus on my own game and getting the best out of myself on the field.
“Of course, I’ll still be around to support whoever fills the role next, but I think the club is ready for a new player to lead.”
Isaac Smith and Liam Shiels were joint vice-captains this year, with Ben Stratton and Jack Gunston rounding out a five-man leadership group.
Roughead, who missed the entire 2016 season as he battled skin cancer, was praised for his selfless approach in leading the side.
“He took on the role of captain at a time when he had a lot of things going on in his life and yet, as is the way with Rough, he put the club and its needs first,” Hawks footy boss Graham Wright said.
“He has done a great job of guiding our emerging group over the past couple of seasons and we are grateful for the leadership and commitment he has shown.
“When Rough let us know of his intentions to step down from the role and focus on his footy, he had our complete support.
“We know that he will continue to lead by example amongst the group and we are equally confident that a new leader will step up and fill the void left by his departure.”