Jarryd Roughead's return to Hawthorn confirmed in reunion with coach Sam Mitchell

The four-time premiership player with the Hawks is back where it all began.

Jarryd Roughead.
Jarryd Roughead is back at Hawthorn in a list management role. Image: Getty

Jarryd Roughead is returning to Hawthorn to work alongside former teammate-turned-coach Sam Mitchell in a list management role. The Hawks confirmed on Wednesday that Roughead is back at the club in a new full-time role of 'Player Acquisition Manager' - focusing on trade and free agency.

The 37-year-old, who won four premierships at Hawthorn as a player, stepped down from his recruitment role at St Kilda just before Christmas after four years in the job. He joined the Saints in 2019 immediately after his retirement, and worked in various roles.

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He was tasked with mentoring younger players, as well as assistant coaching at times. But Roughead told the club he wouldn't be returning for the 2024 season, quitting just before the Christmas break.

The news had sparked hope from fans that he would link back up with Mitchell at the Hawks - where they won four premierships together and formed a tight bond. Those hopes were fulfilled on Wednesday, sparking some joyous reactions on social media.

Hawthorn's Executive General Manager of Football Rob McCartney said in a statement: “We have been very open and transparent about our list strategy and the path we are on to get back to playing finals. We know that having more skilled resources in this area gives us the best opportunity for success. Jarryd brings a skillset that allows us to have a sharper focus on acquiring talent through trade and free agency.

“The club is committed to further enhancing the recruiting and list department by adding additional resources within the next 12 months that will strengthen our ability to deliver on our club strategy. Skilled resources in specific roles will be important to us as we continue to build and maximise our list through the mechanisms available in draft, trade and free agency.”

Jarryd Roughead departure continues upheaval at St Kilda

Roughead's departure from St Kilda came after recruiting manager Chris Toce also left the club in November. The Saints have since responded by snaring Simon Dalrymple from the Swans for their recruiting team.

Dalrymple had worked at Sydney for the past six seasons and was previously employed by the Western Bulldogs. He played an integral role in helping the Dogs win the flag in 2016, including drafting their top player Marcus Bontempelli. He had also helped the Swans revamp their list in recent seasons.

Jarryd Roughead, pictured here before a St Kilda game in 2021.
Jarryd Roughead (R) before a St Kilda game in 2021. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

“Simon has played a pivotal role in our list build since joining the club back in 2018,” Swans GM of football Leon Cameron said. “He has a great ability to identify talent, and we believe our playing list is in good shape thanks largely to Simon. On behalf of everyone at the Swans, we would like to wish Simon all the best in his new role.”

Last week the Saints also split with chief executive Simon Lethlean after less than two years at the helm. Lethlean will leave the Saints in a decision painted as mutual by both parties, but coming amid speculation of tension between the administrator and coach Ross Lyon.

Jarryd Roughead and Sam Mitchell, pictured here after the 2014 AFL grand final.
Jarryd Roughead and Sam Mitchell with Hawthorn teammates after the 2014 AFL grand final. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Sam Mitchell back at Hawthorn after scary ordeal on family holiday

Mitchell is making a staggered return to head-coaching duties at Hawthorn this pre-season after suffering a serious case of pneumonia while holidaying with his family in America. The 41-year-old had been travelling in the United States, and started feeling ill just before Christmas.

He spent Christmas Day in New York University Hospital, but has since made a full recovery and returned to Australia. However the ordeal didn't end there, with some of the Mitchell family's luggage and passports stolen while in transit. Thankfully they were all returned and their trip home wasn't delayed.

Mitchell is now back at Hawthorn, but his return is coming in stages so his health can be managed. McCartney revealed that Mitchell's wife Lyndall had done an "amazing" job providing care for him during the ordeal.

Like Roughead, Mitchell won four premierships with the Hawks as a player, and finished his 329-game career with West Coast in 2017. The 41-year-old has just finished his second season as head coach of the Hawks and owns a 15-30 record since taking over from Alastair Clarkson.

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