Hawthorn young gun James Sicily has hailed the influence of Jarryd Roughead on the eve of the AFL finals.
Sicily has played 21 games and kicked 29 goals in his breakout season, with a five-goal haul in round 13 earning him the Hawks’ only Rising Star nomination this year.
Roughead has been sidelined all season as he undergoes aggressive cancer treatment, but Sicily said his influence has still been profound.
“He’s helped with the forward line coaching and particularly with me being a mentor … he’s someone that I go to for guidance,” Sicily told AAP.
“Whenever I’m having trouble or difficulty during a game I’ll have a chat to him in the breaks and he’ll help me out.
“Obviously he’s a great forward and a very smart footballer so any tips I can get off him are huge.”
Fairfax Media reported on Wednesday that Roughead’s bid to return to the field following a successful recovery had received a boost, with the club to keep him on the senior list in 2017.
Sicily was made to wait for his senior opportunities, playing three games last year after being selected 56th overall at the 2013 draft.
But after looking on as his teammates won their second then third flags in the past two seasons, he’s ready to make the step up to finals football.
“Obviously I was very envious watching the boys on grand final day … it just drove me that little bit more in pre-season and into the home-and-away season,” he said.
“There are some younger guys in the team that hopefully want to be a part of Hawthorn history too and arguably part of the best team ever.
“I think it definitely helps drive the group because a few of us haven’t been in those grand finals.”