<
>

Hawks mull Roughead's second AFL farewell

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson isn't afraid to make the tough decisions but he admits denying Jarryd Roughead another AFL farewell would be like shooting Bambi.

After spending so much of the season in the VFL, it was unclear if Roughead would even get one chance to say goodbye to Hawks fans having played a final AFL game.

But having booted six goals in a 70-point thrashing of Gold Coast, in what was supposed to be his big sign-off in his 283rd AFL match, the debate now is whether he will get a second opportunity.

While the focus was fairly and squarely on Roughead at Marvel Stadium on Sunday, the Hawks quietly moved into ninth spot with the percentage-boosting win.

Depending on other results, Clarkson's men might come from the clouds to snatch a surprise finals berth with an upset win over West Coast at Optus Stadium.

Roughead fought hard for every one of his six majors against the last-placed Suns, but a road trip to Perth to take on the reigning premiers with finals still on the line is an entirely different proposition for a 32-year-old at the end of his career.

"It'll be like shooting Bambi if we don't pick Rough next week, but if we don't it'll be all (football manager) Graham Wright's fault ... it won't be my fault," Clarkson quipped.

"But we'll see how all that unfolds

"Mitch Lewis has hurt his shoulder and we need to see how that comes up for next week. He's a big part of our future and we just need to make an assessment on what we do.

"Rough's made it a bit more difficult, but there's a part of me that says 'That would be a nice way to finish your career'.

"Six goals in a big win in front of your home fans is a pretty special way to finish up, but we'll have a discussion about that during the week."

The downside of coaching teams to four grand final wins is that you have to guide four-time premiership players out of the club when fans and teammates aren't ready to let go.

With an eye on the next premiership, Clarkson has done that with the likes of Sam Mitchell, Jordan Lewis, Luke Hodge and now Roughead.

"It's like losing a body part with some of these guys who have been such warriors for your club, but it has got to come to an end for all players," he said.

"Rough did particularly well tonight but ... his body is just failing him now.

"It's hard to watch that because at different stages he's capable of doing what he has done (in the past).

"Today you wonder 'Why is he giving it up, Clarko? He's kicked six!'

"But we need to look at the future of our footy club."