12 months on from his passing, former teammates reflect on their relationship with, and pay respect to, former Fremantle footballer Shane Yarran.
Michael Walters (Fremantle Football Club teammate)
I knew Shane and his family well when we were growing up. We both went to the same school and grew up in the same local community. When he was drafted to Fremantle ahead of the 2016 season I would be the player that would drive him to and from our training sessions.
Every morning he would come in the car with me and we’d stop on our way to training to get a coffee. Those car trips gave us the opportunity to develop an even stronger bond. We spent quality time together, getting to know each other so well.
Those moments in the car made all the challenges of a tough pre-season easier on me. Knowing I had someone to talk to and someone that I was able to share things with was special. Cruising to and from training each day are the memories that I cherish and hold close to me.
Shane was a caring person, loyal to his friends and family. He was easy-going, good to be around and loved to have a laugh. Shane was the type of guy who got along with everyone. He was a respectful person to anyone that came across his path.
On the field, his talent was unbelievable. We always knew that to kick 50, 60, or 70 goals in a season and win the WAFL goal-kicking medal, he had some sort of talent but it wasn’t until you did a pre-season with him that you realised how hard he actually worked.
He had the speed and the agility but he also had the height. He was the type of player who could take and unbelievable mark or turn a game on its head.
His attributes stand out as something I will always remember about him.
Michael Johnson (Fremantle Football Club teammate)
Shane and I didn’t get to play too much football together because he played a lot of his games when I was injured but for me, being a senior player around the club and seeing Shane come through the system as a mature-age recruit is a memory I cherish.
Being a teammate and a fellow Indigenous man at Fremantle I was proud to see the transition he went through, from where he came from and the challenges he faced, to the man and the player he became.
Shane was unbelievably talented and the things that he did on the football field will never be forgotten. It’s sad that we don’t get to see his special talent out there now playing for the Fremantle jumper.
He was a proud Indigenous man who had a young family and was a great dad to his daughter. He was always willing to learn under Ross Lyon and the Fremantle coaching staff how players go about being in the AFL environment. We knew he had talent just by going out and playing but he also worked incredibly hard. He just needed his chance at AFL for his talent to shine. Shane had his challenges but to work through those is a testament to him.
Shane got along with everyone and all of the boys around Fremantle. The young players who were drafted the same year as him benefitted from having him around the club. They saw him as a leader and he loved being that person and trying to help those young players who entered the system with him. He was a great Indigenous leader.
For me the memories that stand out are encapsulated by the hard work that we did through the pre-season and season. AFL football is a tough industry and as a young Indigenous man it can be incredibly challenging so you begin to lean on other Indigenous boys to get you through those times. That’s what we did.
We lean on each other and those are good memories for sure – working together to help each other excel in football.
He had a special talent and I was so proud to see him play his first game. Shane could always get himself out of tough situations on the football field. There are only a few other players in the competition who had a goal sense like he did, people like Michael Walters and Cyril Rioli, who could make something from nothing and Shane was one of them.
Harley Bennell (Fremantle Football Club teammate)
Shane and I arrived at Fremantle at the same time. We were pretty close around the football club and outside of it. I still remember the night he was drafted and I sent him a message congratulating him and wishing him all the best.
Over our time at Fremantle we became incredibly close and would often catch up for coffee or breakfast, spending time bonding and getting to know each other.
There were countless memories that Shane and I shared but some moments that stand out were when we used to grab and coffee and go to the beach, Shane, Harley Balic and myself, and tell some yarns about our lives.
Every time he would come to the football club he would train so hard. He was one of Fremantle’s hardest workers and was really switched on.
Shane was like a brother to me. Being in the system a bit longer than he had I showed him the ropes initially but he taught me a few things along the way as well.
We were like a brotherhood and were always there for each other.
I miss him dearly and would still love to have him around.
Kyal Horsley (Subiaco Football Club teammate)
I remember walking into Subiaco Football Club again after moving back to Perth from over East. Yaz had just arrived to the club, too. My first impressions of him were that he was a special talent but an even better person.
Yaz was confident in his body language but humble in his words. He was supportive of, and friends with, everyone in the group regardless of if they had played 200 games or none at all. He treated everyone the same and everyone respected him for that.
Watching him play was incredibly special too. Some of the things he was able to do on the football field were magical. He’d have two Simpson medals if he didn’t get injured in both WAFL grand finals.
He was a super talent on the field but around the club and off the field he was easy-going and someone you could always talk to. Yaz was a genuinely kind and caring person and that’s something that really sticks out when we talk about him now.
There is a memory that stands out for me when we were playing against each other in the 2016 WAFL grand final. Yaz was playing for Peel Thunder and I was playing for Subiaco. I remember being tackled in our defensive 50 and turning around to see it was Yaz who had tackled me. I told him to slow down because he was absolutely destroying us. He just gave me this big, cheeky grin and I remember thinking to myself that Subiaco were in a bit of trouble here. He said something along the lines of, ‘sorry, I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do’. Peel won that day and he was the difference. His cheeky smile meant I couldn’t even be mad at him for playing such a great game.
The way he was around the whole club, the trainers and the support staff are memories I’ll cherish. Outside of the four walls he was probably misunderstood but I’ll remember how happy he was at Subi. It’s hard to put into words how he was but he always seemed at ease with his teammates.
The whole group loved having him at the club, not just because he was a talented footballer but because he was a wonderful person. Good characters make football clubs enjoyable, even when it’s mostly hard work, and Yaz was one of the best characters.
Jarrad Schofield (Subiaco Football Club coach)
Yaz and I had a special bond from the moment we met. He captured a piece of my heart very early on and I could always see the good in him. Nothing was better than seeing that cheeky grin.
He wasn’t just a player to me but also a close friend that I miss every day.
I often fondly remember the times he would grab my young boy Taj and have a kick with him, his kind heart always shining through.
A true gentleman and family man that we were all blessed to have in our lives.
I miss you Yaz man and hope you are resting easy mate.
Shane Yarran played six games for the Fremantle Football Club in 2016 and is a three-time WAFL premiership player and winner of the Bernie Naylor Medal, which is presented to the leading goalkicker at the end of each home and away season in the WAFL.
Shane’s family have approved the use of his image for this article and all relevant content.
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