West Coast youngster Dom Sheed has been rewarded for his consistent season, receiving the Round 15 Rising Star nomination.
And while there’s no doubt Sheed would be happy with the nomination, a few of his teammates would be just as relieved.
Earlier this season, midfielder Chris Masten told westcoasteagles.com.au he expected Sheed to be one of the club’s big improvers.
“the coaches have ridden him really hard and it’s come out really well for him” – Chris Masten on Dom Sheed
“He’s really stepped up this year and I think the coaches have ridden him really hard and it’s come out really well for him. He’s playing fantastic footy at the minute and I think he’ll have a really good year,” Masten said in March.
“I expect him to be there most of the year in the guts and having a really good season, because his pre-season has been exceptional.”
Sheed has developed rapidly throughout 2015, missing only two games and averaging 19 disposals, four inside 50s and two clearances per game as he continues to take on a greater role in the midfield.
The 20-year-old started 2015 in good form before a hand injury forced him out of the side. He started as the sub when he returned but has averaged 24 disposals and a goal in his last three outings since ditching the green vest.
It’s been a steady rise for Sheed, who arrived at the Eagles via pick 11 in the 2013 National Draft – a pick that was originally given to Collingwood as compensation for losing Dale Thomas to free agency, and then swapped to the Eagles along with selections 31 (Malcolm Karpany) and 49 (Dylan Main) for West Coast’s picks 6 (Matthew Scharenberg) and 44 (Aliir Aliir, after the selection was sent to Sydney).
Sheed was considered a steal when he fell through to pick 11, after dominating the Under-18 championships that season.
“One of my goals was to get stronger so I can win more contested footy and play my role and I’ve done that” – Dom Sheed
He was Western Australia’s captain for the tournament and received the Larke Medal as the best division one player, averaging 28 disposals a game during the championships.
The Kalgoorlie product impressed enough during his first AFL pre-season to make his League debut in Round 1, 2014 against the Bulldogs. Starting as the sub, Sheed collected three disposals in the 65-point win.
He went on to play 10 games during his first season, starting as the sub in five of them and averaging 10 disposals a game in 2014.
Speaking to afl.com.au, Sheed said another pre-season and year in the system has led to more consistent performances throughout matches.
“I think I’m not getting worn out as much as my first year. I think I’ve just built up more stamina and strength so I can play out games a bit better,” Sheed said.
“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 is the first West Coast player to be nominated for the award since Andrew Gaff received the gong in Round 19, 2011.
He is also the 35th Eagle to be nominated for the Ron Evans Medal since the award’s inception in 1993 – the equal second-most of any club in the competition – with Ben Cousins the club’s only winner in 1996.
RISING STAR NOMINEES FOR 2015
Round 1 – Kamdyn McIntosh (Richmond)
Round 2 – Mitch Honeychurch (Western Bulldogs)
Round 3 – Isaac Heeney (Sydney Swans)
Round 4 – Patrick Cripps (Carlton)
Round 5 – Adam Saad (Gold Coast SUNS)
Round 6 – Cory Gregson (Geelong)
Round 7 – Billy Hartung (Hawthorn)
Round 8 – Cameron McCarthy (GWS Giants)
Round 9 – Jesse Hogan (Melbourne)
Round 10 – Angus Brayshaw (Melbourne)
Round 11 – Tim Broomhead (Collingwood)
Round 12 – Tom Boyd (Western Bulldogs)
Round 13 – Charlie Cameron (Adelaide Crows)
Round 14 – Jack Lonie (St Kilda)
Round 15 – Dom Sheed (West Coast Eagles)