Hawks becoming only Rough chance of flag success?

Jarryd Roughead has a bigger battle on his hands than trying to help Hawthorn win a fourth premiership in a row.

JARRYD Roughead arrived at Hawthorn in 2004 as a quiet, unassuming young bloke from the bush, who didn't want to be made a fuss over.

It was in contrast to his fellow draftee Lance Franklin, the cocky extrovert.

Twelve years on, nothing much has changed.

But whether he liked it or not, big Rough was always going to be centre of attention as the footy world came to terms with his cancer setback.

The support since news broke of a recurrence of melanoma was overwhelming, but hardly surprising such is the standing he has in the footy community as a much-loved, genuine, down-to-earth bloke.

Teammate - and the best man at his wedding - Jordan Lewis spoke from the heart on Fox Footy, while fellow 2008 premiership player Shane Crawford broke down on The Footy Show.

With Roughy having worn the No.2 on his back since his second season, there was a rousing applause from Sydney and Hawthorn fans alike at second-minute mark of the second quarter of the clash at the MCG last Friday night.

This came after the Swans' cheer squad displayed the message "We are right behind you ROUGHY" on the bottom of the banner.

Franklin had come down from Sydney a day earlier to spend time with his old mate.

While the Hawks prepare for a trip to Brisbane this week, Roughead prepares for surgery today, ahead of chemotherapy.

His latest battle puts Hawthorn's fight to win a fourth-straight premiership in perspective.

Make no mistake, if the Hawks had one wish this season it would be for Roughy to make a full recovery, not another flag.

But, such the team man, Roughy, who bleeds brown and gold, will be hurting he can't be out there on the field to help his beloved team, which is missing him.

Be it forward, where, as good as they are, too much is being asked of premiership stars Jack Gunston, Luke Breust and Paul Puopolo as well as youngsters James Sicily and Tim O'Brien.

Or be it up-field at the stoppages, where the Hawks are getting smashed. Roughy has shown his versatility in recent years as a clearance and contested-ball specialist, ranked sixth and second at the club in those categories last season.

They are 6-3, but could just as easily have been 3-6 after tight wins over the Bulldogs, Adelaide and St Kilda.

The Hawks have faced incredible adversity leading up to all three premiership wins from 2013 to 2015 - the departure of Franklin, illness to coach Alastair Clarkson, finals in Perth, injuries, retirements.

But, the odds in 2016 are stacked against them like never before.

A lack of motivation, though, should not be among them now. Not to create any sort of history, but to 'do it for Rough'. Rough, of course, would respond with just 'do it for yourselves'.