Shaw spectacle at the Jube
Saturday, 15th May, 2021
By Emily Ferguson
Retired AFL premiership player and loveable larrikin Heath Shaw, will line up today for North as they take on South.
Heath Shaw spoke with the Barrier Truth earlier in the week about how much he is looking forward to visiting and playing in the “AFL-loving” town of Broken Hill.
Shaw was well into his preparation for the big game this weekend doing some training with mates before making the trip.
“I haven’t played footy for a few weeks... It’s funny, when you do stop kicking the footy around for a bit, you do lose the ability. So you need to keep on top of it,” he said.
This will be Shaw’s first time in the Silver City for football or otherwise. “It will be my first trip to Broken Hill to play football that’s for sure. I can’t remember if I’ve been to Broken Hill and not played football so it probably will be my first time. But I’m looking forward to it.”
The opportunity came up through a friend of a friend who asked if a 35-year-old, retired, back-pocket wanted to come and play a game at Broken Hill,” he said.
“And originally my plans were not to play footy at all but I’ve actually signed with East Keilor for the year but doing this one-off game is something that a couple of friends have organised so I’m looking forward to it.”
Shaw said he is very excited to be pulling on a Bulldog Guernsey this afternoon. “I’ve heard a few little things about the club (NFC)...but, obviously, it’s a fairly AFL-loving sort of town Broken Hill, so, with COVID last year, we’re starved of football, so it’s actually good to get back out there.”
“I must admit, when I retired, I didn’t think I’d be playing football. But I’ve actually enjoyed training at local footy with my local club, East Keilor and having a kick. And my good mate Dale Thomas played at Ballan last weekend as well and he said he had a ball. So I’m looking forward to getting down to Broken Hill, having a kick around, trying to get a couple of kicks and then doing a little sportsman’s night afterwards which is always great fun.”
In a video posted to the North Football Club Facebook page earlier this week, Shaw expressed his desire to play in North’s forward line after 16 years in the AFL as a defender.
“Well, I did mention to a few of my former coaches, mostly in Mick Malthouse, that I’m a natural forward that was stuck on the half-back flank for 16 years whilst at AFL level. And I purely blame him because he was the one that actually put me back there and said ‘You need to learn how to defend’ and I never left the half-back flank.
“So just a point where I need to show them that I am a natural forward and there’s no better way to do that than to get back to local footy and hopefully lining up,” said Shaw. “I hadn’t kicked a goal before last year for the Giants, in about four and a half years so hopefully that streak doesn’t go as long as it did previously.
“At some point, even if he (Brett Johnson) does put me on the half-back flank, I’ll definitely make my way down there.”
Shaw hopes to utilise his years of AFL experience to help North get the win over South.
“I love the fact that it’s a bit of a rivalry game and we’re hoping to get a big crowd there as well...There’s nothing better than a local football rivalry. So if I can contribute a little bit, maybe a goal or two, or some experience down back, or even helping the coach out a little bit to get the win, then it’ll be a great day and a great result for both myself and the club.”
Last night Shaw attended the local Auskick night to have a kick with the kids.
“We sort of try to do as much as we can while I’m there for the weekend so it’s good that we get to go and do the Auskick on Friday night, have a little kick around with the kids and, like I said, the kids missed out on playing last year and it’s always good that, even though it is a retired AFL player, to get back out into the community and spread the love a little bit,” he said.
The North Football Club are hosting a Sportsman’s Night tonight at the club, as a member’s-only event.
“The sportsman’s night, which is always good fun and no doubt there’ll be a few stories told, but obviously pump up myself as much as humanly possible.”
Shaw is looking forward to running into a few Giants fans in his time in the Hill.
“A former teammate of mine, Isaac Cumming is from Broken Hill as well. So no doubt we’ll bump into a few family members of his at the footy if they’re not playing.
“I sort of had the feeling that there might be a few Giants supporters that Isaac has converted over the last few years. Hopefully, there’ll be a good little group there. And I know they’re playing Saturday night, so we’ll have one eye on the footy and one eye on the sportsman’s night Hopefully, it’s two wins for us on the Saturday.”
Life post-AFL football has been exciting for Shaw, with the ‘Heater and Daisy Show’ alongside his mate Dale (Daisy) Thomas, as well as recently wrapping filming of the TV show, SAS.
“I’ve just completed the filming of SAS a couple of weeks ago, so that was a unique experience as one of the best and toughest things I’ve done. So that’s on channel 7,” he said.
“And myself and Daisy have our little show that we do on Monday’s which is a bit of fun. I played AFL for 16 years and it’s all so very serious, so to do something a little bit more light-hearted and have a bit of fun around football - which I know and love - is great and I’m very lucky.
“I’m not even sure how we’ve got this show but we’re still going. We’ve done nine episodes and we’re going along okay and local footy has given us some good content for the show as well. Having a bit more of a relaxed lifestyle at the moment is great and I still get my fix of footy playing locally and doing some sportsman’s nights here and there as well,” said Shaw.
Shaw is determined to get the win with the Bulldogs this afternoon.
“Looking forward to getting on the little plane and making my way up to Broken Hill and, like I said, hopefully, there’s a big crowd there and a good game - not really a close game - I don’t mind and would be very happy if we’re a few goals up. I don’t want a close one, I’m more than happy to have a good game but not a close game, and hopefully, we get the win.”