JORDAN Roughead was happily surprised to find a junior Western Bulldogs fan on a walk in his hometown on Friday morning.
Growing up as a Bulldogs’ supporter, Roughead said he rarely saw another kid wearing his colours.
Now, the Western Bulldogs’ premiership player is starting to notice a change in Ballarat.
Roughead had his first look at the redeveloped Mars Stadium on Friday, five weeks out from the Bulldogs hosting Ballarat’s first AFL premiership season game.
“It’s looking unbelievable. The stands look terrific and I can imagine what a full crowd will be like,” Roughead said. “Back then (playing under-18s) this wasn’t even considered, playing an AFL game in Ballarat. I played one NAB Cup game here and even then, it wasn’t considered.
“It’s something I certainly wasn’t expecting, playing here and representing my club.”
Roughead played junior football with Lake Wendouree and TAC Cup under-18s with North Ballarat Rebels.
He is the second Bulldogs’ player to see the all-but-complete stadium that will become the club’s boutique kennel.
Injured premiership player Josh Dunkley visited the stadium last month amid a series of club community engagements.
Roughead was a special guest for a Central Bulldogs District lunch for community stakeholders at North Ballarat Sports Club on Friday.
He talked football on a panel with Bulldogs’ Hall of Famer Rohan Smith, who is now the club’s development manager, and AFLW midfielder Kirsty Lamb.
Western Bulldogs chief executive officer Gary Kent was also a key note speaker, reiterating how the club very much wanted to make a mark on and off the field. This includes community development projects, working in partnership with Ballarat specialists, in men’s health, children’s literacy, youth leadership and Auskick.
Western Bulldogs will play the first AFL premiership season game in Ballarat against Port Adelaide on August 19.
Mars Stadium is open to the public on July 29.