Main content

Shaw earns Giant honour after finest season

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 22: Heath Shaw of the Giants in action during the 2015 AFL round 21 match between the GWS Giants and the Sydney Swans at Spotless Stadium, Sydney, Australia on August 22, 2015. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Heath Shaw has been named the Giants' best for 2015
I sat down with Leon (Cameron) at the start of the year and we just spoke about what my role was, and he wanted me to lead and play on the best small forward
Heath Shaw

ATTACKING defender Heath Shaw has capped his best individual season in the AFL by winning the Kevin Sheedy Medal as Greater Western Sydney's club champion at Rosehill Gardens racecourse on Saturday night.

The 29-year-old stormed home in the second half of the season, polling 117 votes to take the award from midfielder Adam Treloar (98 votes), with co-captain Callan Ward (91) grabbing the final podium spot.

Leading goalkicker Jeremy Cameron (82) finished fourth with tough on-baller Stephen Coniglio (75) rounding out the top five.

Shaw led the League for kicks, rebound 50s, and as one of the game's best running backmen, not surprisingly had the most bounces in the competition.

In a sign of just how consistent his season was in 2015, Shaw didn't miss a match and polled votes in 19 of the 22 games he played.

The 2010 Collingwood premiership star has been an outstanding recruit for GWS since arriving at the club at the end of the 2013 season, with his leadership and experience vital for the young Giants defence.

Shaw placed fifth in the Sheedy Medal last season, with his previous best finish in a best and fairest coming at the Pies in 2009, when he finished third in the Copeland trophy.

The vice-captain also won the coaches' award and was named the fans and members' MVP. Shaw could receive another honour next week if, as widely predicted, he makes the All Australian side for the first time.

One of the League's biggest characters, Shaw got serious in an exclusive chat with AFL.com.au, and said if he hadn't made the move to Sydney, his footy career was done.

"I'm 29 years old and I'm probably playing the best footy of my life and I never thought I'd be in this position, but the guys that I've got around me make me better so I'm just rapt to accept this award," Shaw said.

"Leaving Collingwood, I loved the club, loved the people at the club, but it was the right time for me to go.

"The decision had to be made - to be honest it's been the best decision that's been made for me, or that I've made.

"To come to this place and start from square one, I'm absolutely stoked that I made that decision."

The always-honest Shaw said 2015 was definitely the most consistent season he's played in his 11 years in the competition.

"I sat down with Leon (Cameron) at the start of the year and we just spoke about what my role was, and he wanted me to lead and play on the best small forward," he said.

"I did that week in, week out, sometimes I got beaten but I always had a crack.

"As a backline group we always talk about breaking even and I thought I did that most of the time, and as a backman if you can do that, you've done your job, so I'll take that every day of the week."

All Australian 2015: Top 40 players named

GWS coach Leon Cameron said Shaw's win was great reward for an outstanding year.

"Heath has had a superb season and this is a well-deserved honour," Cameron said.

"His influence since arriving at our club has been enormous. He is a leader at this club and sets high standards for his teammates in everything he does."

Treloar, 22, led the Giants for disposals in 2015 with 578 at 27.5 per match and booted 14 goals, and missed just one game when a groin injury kept him out of the side's round 21 loss to Port Adelaide.

After months of speculation surrounding his playing future beyond 2015, the uncontracted Victorian this week informed the club of his intentions to return home via the trade period.

It was another consistent season for Ward who led the Giants in contested possessions and was a constant source of inspiration for his younger teammates with his ferocious attack on the ball.

In four seasons at GWS since coming to the club from the Western Bulldogs, Ward has excelled, winning the Sheedy medal in his first year, finishing runner-up in the past two, before this season's achievement.

2015 Kevin Sheedy Medal Top 10

1. Heath Shaw (117 votes)
2. Adam Treloar (98) 
3. Callan Ward (91) 
4. Jeremy Cameron (82)
5. Stephen Coniglio (75)
6. Devon Smith (73) 
7. Dylan Shiel (72) 
8. Ryan Griffen (64) 
9. Shane Mumford (60) 
10. Toby Greene, Nick Haynes (59) 

* GWS coach Leon Cameron and his assistants Amon Buchanan, Chad Cornes and Luke Power vote on the Kevin Sheedy Medal, with up to four votes able to be awarded to a player by each coach every round. 

Other award winners
2015 Lend Lease GIANTS Community Award: Dylan Shiel
2015 PM Capital Academy Player of the Year: Jacob Hopper
2015 GIANTS Standards Defensive Award: Devon Smith 
2015 Western Sydney University NEAFL Development Award: Jake Barrett 


2015 Virgin Australia Mark of the Year: Nick Haynes (Round 6 v Hawthorn)
2015 SpotJobs.com Goal of the Year: Jeremy Cameron (Round 2 v Melbourne)