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Sheed breaks Eagles' Rising Star drought

HOBART, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 07: Dom Sheed of the Eagles in action during the 2015 AFL round ten match between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the West Coast Eagles at Blundstone Arena, Hobart on June 7, 2015. (Photo by Sean Garnsworthy/AFL Media)
Rising Star nominee Dom Sheed has been part of the Eagles' rise in 2015

WEST Coast midfielder Dom Sheed has become the first Eagle since 2011 to earn a NAB Rising Star nomination following a strong performance against Adelaide in round 15.

Sheed gathered 26 disposals and kicked a goal in the Eagles' 56-point win over the Crows on Saturday night.

No Eagle had been nominated for the award since Andrew Gaff in round 19, 2011. Gaff, Jack Darling and Luke Shuey were all nominated that season, with Shuey finishing second in the award behind Essendon's Dyson Heppell.

Sheed, 20, has averaged 24 disposals and a goal across the past three weeks. In just his second season, Sheed said his physical development over the past two years had given him the ability to stay in games for longer.

"I think I'm not getting worn out as much as my first year," Sheed told AFL.com.au.

"I think I've just built up more stamina and strength so I can play out games a bit better.

"One of my goals was to get stronger so I can win more contested footy and play my role.

"And I've done that so I think that's why I can last for longer in games at the moment."

Sheed was the starting sub in five of the 10 games he played in his first season last year. He started this season in good form before breaking his hand in round seven. When he returned in round 10 he had to start as the sub in two more games.

He was the Eagles' first pick in the 2013 NAB AFL draft after winning the Larke medal in the 2013 NAB Under-18 Championships playing for Western Australia.

Sheed was already advanced physically when he came into the AFL having played in the WAFL with Subiaco before he was drafted. But he said he had to work hard in the gym over the past two years in order to handle the physicality of the AFL as a contested midfielder.

Brownlow medallist Matt Priddis has been a big influence on Sheed since he arrived at the club.

"He (Priddis) is so professional in everything he does," Sheed said

"He leaves no stone unturned. So that's what I'm continuing to strive towards and get myself to another level hopefully.

"The biggest thing I've learned from him is when he's getting tackled he's not too fazed. He doesn't feel like he needs to get rid of the footy straight away, he really holds onto the ball and doesn't get rid of it until he's got an option.”

Gaff said on Monday that Sheed had come on in leaps and bounds this season.

"He has been great, Dom," Gaff said.

"In your first year you're in and out of the team a bit and it does play with your confidence levels.

"But this year he's really fitting in and really doing his bit.

"He doesn't have to have 30 touches to have an impact on games and we couldn't be happier with his presence around stoppages and he's another big body that we perhaps needed at the start of the year.

"So he and Elliot Yeo in there have been great and have added another dimension to the midfield that we didn't have.

"As a young player you have your bad games and your good games and I think he has really narrowed that gap and become a very important player for us."