The images of Jarryd Roughead mentoring his Bulldogs opponent when playing in a VFL match earlier this season clearly did not go unnoticed at St Kilda, with the club moving quickly to sign the retired Hawk to a full-time development role.
The Saints said in a statement on Saturday that the four-time flag winner would work on list management, leadership and mentoring programs and have a match-day role assisting the club’s emerging key-position players.
Football general manager Simon Lethlean said Roughead’s character and experience would help boost the Saints as the club transitioned to a new leadership team, after the recent departure of Alan Richardson.
“His football resume speaks for itself and it will be incredibly valuable to tap into his knowledge and experience as we continue to strengthen our football program,” Lethlean said.
Given the demand for his services, we are obviously thrilled that Roughy has chosen the Saints as the club where he wants to take the first step in the next phase of his football career.”
Roughead was also happy to snare his first life after playing job.
“I’m looking forward to working across the football program and with a really talented young group of players, and contributing where I can to their development,” Roughead said.
“St Kilda presented an appealing role and have a very clear direction in where they want to take the club over the next few years.”
On the road again: Tigers’ first non-MCG game in seven matches
Richmond has not played at the Gabba since early in the 2017 season, but Tigers defender Nick Vlastuin says the club are up for the fight against the Brisbane Lions this week.
Richmond has had seven consecutive games at the MCG and if it can win away on Saturday it will be back to home base for the rest of the finals series.
“It’s probably good to just get out of Melbourne and it’s always fun travelling with the boys,” Vlastuin said.
“You’re forced to spend more time together, which is always fun.
“So yeah, we’re really looking forward to it.”
Before their Round 23 clash, which Richmond won by 27 points, the Tigers hadn’t faced Brisbane since Round 4, 2018.
“We both got our first look at each other first hand to see how it stacks up against our system,” Vlastuin said.
“So we looked at some of the things they did really well and we’ll try and combat that. And they’ll look at what we did really well and they’ll try and combat that.”
Vlastuin said Richmond would be focusing heavily on their contested ball after being “touched up” in that area in Round 23, with Brisbane winning contested possessions 145-131, clearances 48-32 and tackles 72-47.
“We’re never going to know until we run out, but they kind of touched us up in contested possessions,” he said.
“That goes a long way to winning most games, so we’re going to have a big focus on that over the next week or two at training.”
Big finals series for smallest Giant
The AFLs second-smallest player is hoping for a big debut finals performance for Greater Western Sydney against the Western Bulldogs on Saturday.
Brent Daniels, at 170cm, capped off a breakthrough year with a Rising Star nomination in Round 23.
“I’ve been told I’m too small,” Daniels said this week.
“But it hasn’t really fazed me too much because I know (my footy’s) good enough and that height shouldn’t matter.”
“The ball is on the ground a lot more than in the air, so I find it an advantage.”
Daniels, who played his junior football at Nyah Nyah West United near Swan Hill before boarding at Geelong Grammar, made his AFL debut in Round 16 last season.
He managed seven games but fell out of the senior side for last year’s finals run before bouncing back to be one of only four Giants to play every match this season.
“It’s pretty special. A lot of guys have to wait a long time to play finals,” Daniels said. “I’m pinching myself a little bit.”
What Daniels lacks in height, he makes up for with speed and pressure acts. He only booted nine majors this season but amassed 22 goal assists, the equal-third most in the competition.
“The mix of the smalls and talls, I think we work together pretty well together.”
Bright spot for the Suns
Gold Coast co-captain Jarrod Witts has been named the Suns’ club champion for 2019 – a wooden spoon year for the struggling club.
Witts dominated the votes, polling 553 to finish well ahead of fellow captain David Swallow (417) and Darcy Macpherson (368).
It’s the 26-year-old’s first Suns’ club champion win, having come equal eighth in last year’s poll after three seasons with the cub.