Upside to Hawks injury woes: Roughead

Hawthorn veteran Jarryd Roughead of the Hawks (right) congratulates young teammate Mitchell Lewis.
Hawthorn veteran Jarryd Roughead of the Hawks (right) congratulates young teammate Mitchell Lewis.

Veteran Hawthorn forward Jarryd Roughead says there's an upside to his AFL side's long injury list.

The Hawks have lost a swag of star power in the early rounds. Brownlow Medallist Tom Mitchell, Liam Shiels, Shaun Burgoyne, James Frawley and skipper Ben Stratton were among the players sidelined for their 23-point loss to ladder-leaders Geelong on Monday.

Roughead, who himself missed their round three win over North Melbourne with a corked thigh., believes it will have a longer term benefit with so many youngsters getting early opportunities.

"It's definitely tested our depth but it's also giving these guys a chance," Roughead said.

"You've got (James) Worpel, (James) Cousins and (Jaeger) O'Meara - none of them have played 100 games yet and they're carrying the bulk of our midfield load.

"It might be a bit of short-term pain for long-term gain in terms of the benefit we're going to see with these blokes in the years to come."

At the back end of his career after 15 seasons, Roughead is doing his best to fast-track a new generation of forwards at the club.

The four-time premiership player has been mentoring young key forward Mitch Lewis, who played his third senior game on Monday, as well as Irishman Conor Nash.

"The more I can help out Nashy and Mitch Lewis in the forward line by playing with them, it's only going to benefit them because it's not dissimilar when Johnny Barker and Nick Holland were around when I first got here," he said.

The Hawks are hopeful that Stratton (concussion) gets the green light to take on Carlton on Sunday, with the Blues buoyed by their first win of the year.

Shiels and Burgoyne are nearing returns from hamstring strains, with both training lightly on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Roughead says he's enjoying having Alastair Clarkson coaching from the bench this season.

He felt the coach could relate better to the players, and it helped Clarkson - known for being a hothead - keep his cool.

"I've been in the box with him before and as we know, he's very passionate," Roughead said.

"He can sometimes get a little too heated, so the fact he's on the ground with the players, it doesn't allow him to get too heated and he can relate to players and get an understanding of what the feel is like on the ground."

Australian Associated Press