50. Jack Rough

LEGEND – Coach Inductee

New Town/Ulverstone/Glenorchy, Ruckman, 1945-79

New Town/Glenorchy captain-coach, 1953-60, coach, 1977-79
Ulverstone captain-coach, 1951
178 games for New Town/Glenorchy, 1945-50, 1952-58
Around 20 games for Ulverstone, 1951
New Town/Glenorchy TANFL premierships, 1948, 1949, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1958
New Town/Glenorchy state premierships, 1948, 1953 (unofficial), 1956, 1958
Ulverstone NWFU premiership, 1951
Wander Medal for NWFU Best and Fairest, 1951
Glenorchy Best and Fairest, 1947
Tasmanian National Carnival representative, 1950 (Brisbane)
Six representative matches for Tasmania
New Town/Glenorchy ‘Team of the Century’ (ruckman)

One of the all-time greats of the New Town/Glenorchy Football Club, Jack Rough was an integral part of the Magpies’ first golden era, both as a player and later a highly successful coach. During his time as a player New Town became a powerhouse in Tasmanian football for the first time, winning a combined 11 TANFL/state premierships between 1948 and 1958. Rough played in all but one and was at the helm as coach for the final seven.

Rough made his debut for New Town in 1945 and would go on to play 178 games for the Magpies over a playing career that spanned 14 seasons. An unassuming but highly accurate and effective palm ruckman, Rough was the finest big man in Tasmania in his prime, and even half a century after his last match he is still widely regarded as one of the finest ruckmen Tasmania has produced. Rough was a regular in intrastate matches as well as a six-time Tasmanian representative, including playing for his state at the 1950 National Carnival in Brisbane. Like many stars of his era, he was courted by several VFL clubs, but rejected all overtures, preferring to remain in Tasmania.

A natural leader both on and off the field, Rough won a senior Best and Fairest award in his third season (1947) and first took on an official leadership role in 1949 when he was appointed captain. For the rest of his playing career he was without the title of either captain or coach for only one season. After back-to-back TANFL premierships in 1948 and 1949, Rough was offered his first role as a senior coach with Ulverstone in the NWFU in 1951. His reputation only increased during his one season in the north west, steering the Robins to the NWFU premiership and Rough himself taking out the Wander Medal as the Best and Fairest player in the Union. Rough returned to Glenorchy in 1952 and the following season was appointed captain-coach, a job he would hold for the next six seasons – and another two beyond that after his retirement as a player – guiding his original club to a further four TANFL and three state premierships (one unofficial) to become one of the two most successful coaches in the club’s history, alongside the iconic Roy Cazaly. Rough’s success came largely from his skills as a ‘people person’, and he was especially skilled at bringing the best out of his younger players through constant encouragement. After two consecutive wooden spoons in 1959-60 Rough resigned, but would return 17 years later for a further three years as coach from 1977-79, steering his charges to three consecutive, though ultimately unsuccessful, grand final appearances. His final match in charge in 1979 was one of the most famous confrontations in Tasmanian history, with the highly fancied Magpies sensationally toppled by Clarence by just three points in front of a record Tasmanian football crowd of 24,968 at North Hobart Oval. Rough resigned as coach after this match due to ill health.

Rough’s final tally of 214 games coached produced 136 wins at a success rate of 63.56%, an outstanding record. His seven premierships coached places him in the very top echelon of Tasmanian coaches, and as such he was an obvious choice for the inaugural intake of inductees for the Tasmanian Football Hall of Fame in 2005, where he was also named as one of the first 15 individuals accorded ‘Legend’ status. He has also been recognised by his former club, named first ruckman in the New Town/Glenorchy ‘Team of the Century’, though losing out on the position of coach to Roy Cazaly.