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From AFL superstar to Deakin scholar

From AFL superstar to Deakin alum, advocate and father, Jordan Roughead is kicking goals.


The first image you have of AFL superstar Jordan Roughead probably isn’t one with his nose stuck in a textbook.That’s not a surprise, considering he played a whopping 201 games as both a 2016 premiership player for the Western Bulldogs and a key defender for Collingwood.

But, believe it or not, AFL was never Jordan’s first love.

"I was lucky to be good enough at football, but when I was young what I really wanted to be was a physio," Jordan confesses. 

And after a chat with Jordan, it soon becomes evident that education is where his true passion lies.  

Jordan studies at Deakin

"I’ve always enjoyed having something to focus on that was away from footy and which challenged me in another way," Jordan admits. 

"I started a sports science degree during my football career and then I realised I needed something to focus on that wasn’t so human movement related and I transferred over to a business degree."

"I was exploring what was out there and came across the Master of Business Sport Management at Deakin. What I liked most about Deakin was the ease of studying. It was solely online, but I found all of the platforms really easy to use. It made the experience as effortless as possible."

Jordan's Advocacy work 

However, Jordan’s passion for learning, along with finding ways to provide education for those who may lack the resources to access it, was sparked many years earlier.  

Having worked as an advocate for many years, Jordan was nominated for the Jim Styles Community Leadership Award. He was also the ambassador for Stand-Up Events – a project that educates young people on the impacts of homophobia. He is currently the director of the non-for-profit Ladder.  

"I got involved with Ladder pretty early on in my football career. At the time it was a youth homeless charity."

"Over the years its mission and vision have evolved. It still targets the same demographic, but has become more about re-engaging young people back into society and ensuring they can look after themselves on completion of a Ladder course."

Jordan’s recent passion project 

Now Jordan has a new project that will rival his previous passions. Bridget, his wife, is pregnant. 

"We’re expecting our first in October this year. I’m so clucky at the moment. We’re both really excited!"

With such great responsibility comes considerations for the future and Jordan confessed it was finally time to write his will.  

"It reminded me of my mortality which was a little bit confronting," Jordan confesses. "I’d been told forever I should do it, but I didn’t really know where to begin and wasn’t sure what it was going to cost."

Recently Safewills and Deakin joined forces to provide a discount to Deakin alum. Jordan decided to take advantage of this partnership so he could finally write his will.  

"It was great to have a platform that made the process so easy."

But there was another reason he chose Safewill to be the holder of his will… 

Jordan leaves Deakin a lasting gift

Clearly education is important to Jordan. And what better way to provide educational opportunities for those in need beyond the grave than to leave a gift in his will to Deakin.  

"Leaving a gift in your will is an opportunity to create generational change and support someone who may not be able to engage in further studies and set themselves up for a career."

"It has the potential to be a significant factor in a young person’s life and change the outcome for not just them but their families and their communities. I’ve been really fortunate to be in a position where I’ve had a good income from an early age. Obviously, supporting my family if I’m no longer here is my main priority, but where I could offer a little bit of support for other young people is really important to me too."

Jordan adds, "There are a lot of different journeys you can go on, both mine and Bridget’s have been academic and have been really rewarding, so if we can support other people in taking that same journey, we really want to do that."

Photography by Simon Peter Fox Photography.

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