Second-year Hawks midfielder James Worpel has revealed how Jarryd Roughead helped him get up to speed in his first AFL season and assured fans the former captain will return before season's end.
The four-time premiership forward was sensationally dropped after round seven and has played just once since, returning for the Hawks' 19-point loss to Sydney in round 14.
After missing the following game with sore ribs, the 32-year-old spent last week in the VFL but is likely to be given a formal send-off between Saturday's Launceston clash with Fremantle and the season's end.
"Roughy is a champion bloke and he's taken it on the chin like any of us would," Worpel said.
"He's gone back to the VFL and been really good for the younger boys.
"He played AFL not too long ago and hurt himself, but he's been really good and especially in my first year at the club.
"He was really hard on me and taught me some lessons really early - some boys need that when they come into the system to teach them a bit of discipline, so he was super for me in my first year.
"Stuff like game plans and at training when you did something wrong he pulled you up right on the spot - he's not afraid to give you a spray now and then which is good.
"I'm sure his time will come when he comes back into the team."
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Still only 20, Worpel has taken on a huge load in his second year at the Hawks in the absence of injured Brownlow Medallist Tom Mitchell.
The eighth in a family of nine siblings has collected less than 21 touches only once this season - a 19-disposal game against the Swans - and has often found himself coming head to head with the biggest names in the league.
"It is pretty exciting, I've only played 25 games now and each week you come up against some really big name midfielders that you watched growing up idolising," 2017's number 45 draft pick said.
"You turn over your shoulder and you've got Joel Selwood and [Adam] Treloar and all those big name midfielders - every team has their star midfielder now so it's just good to match up against them and see how you go.
"Growing up as a Geelong supporter most of the Geelong boys I watched growing up pretty closely, so those guys are pretty exciting [to play against].
"[Patrick] Dangerfield, Gary Ablett, Joel Selwood but people like Nathan Fyfe are stars and [Scott] Pendelbury's been a legend for a long time - there's heaps."
Saturday's 2.10pm UTAS Stadium clash looms as a must-win for the Hawks, who are on the cusp of missing finals for just the fifth time in Alastair Clarkson's 15-year reign.
Clarkson has been involved in his fair share of controversies over his tenure, tangling with reporters, umpires and opposition players, and famously punching a hole in the wall of his coaching box during a win over Collingwood in 2012.
Asked to describe life under the four-time flag boss, Worpel said the 51-year-old father-of-three was a different character to the one often portrayed in the media.
"He has a pretty harsh reputation as being 'the angry coach' but Clarko's been super and he's totally different to how some might see him on the field," Worpel said.
"He's really caring, really family-orientated and I'm super happy I can play under one of the best coaches that's ever going to coach the game, so I'm stoked."
- What: Hawthorn v Fremantle
- When: Saturday, 2.10pm
- Where: UTAS Stadium, Launceston
- Tickets: Ticketmaster