Roughy to lead Hawks

January 21, 2017

Next in line: Jarryd Roughead will take over the Hawthorn captaincy from Luke Hodge this season.

Forward Jarryd Roughead will replace Luke Hodge as Hawthorn captain as he makes his AFL return in 2017 after beating cancer.

The 29-year-old Roughead will take over from fellow four-time premiership winner Hodge after the midfielder spent 125 games in the role.

‘‘It’s an enormous responsibility but I’m ready for the challenge and can’t wait to lead this group of players,’’ Roughead said.

‘‘I’ve been lucky enough to play under one of our game’s best captains in Hodgey and I’ll certainly take a lot of what he has taught me into the role.’’

Liam Shiels and Isaac Smith will be the Hawks’ vice-captains.

Hodge, who led the club to three premierships, said the time was right to stand down, and that Roughead was the best man for the job.

‘‘I’ve had the opportunity to see him grow and develop as a leader and there is no better person to lead our club in 2017,’’ Hodge said.

Roughead has played 231 games for the Hawks since making his debut in round three 2005 after being taken with pick No.2 in the national draft the previous year.

He is Hawthorn’s sixth all-time leading goal-kicker with 491 majors.

He was drafted alongside fellow premiership players Lance Franklin and Jordan Lewis, who have both moved on from the club.

Roughead has previously expressed confidence he would be available for an early season return to the AFL after missing all of 2016 while he received treatment for melanoma.

The two-time All Australian was diagnosed with skin cancer in May last year and was not expected to make a return until mid-2017.

He received clearance from doctors to return to playing in December, declaring himself cancer-free and undertaking full pre-season training.

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