I don’t think people outside of the football club fully appreciate how important Rhyce Shaw has been, and continues to be, to us.
On-field his valuable run from the backline and damaging ball use going forward has been as good as ever the last two weeks, and has been instrumental in us winning those games. But what I want to talk about is what Rhyce does for the club off the field.
Rhyce doesn’t subscribe to any so-called hierarchy at the football club and the club is better for it.
The Rhyce Shaw that is so under-rated some commentators still call him ‘Heath’. The Rhyce Shaw that is so well respected and liked that he has been voted best clubman on multiple occasions. The Rhyce Shaw that screamed “nek minnit” on the premiership dais!
I remember reading a book on leadership by Tom Harley, and in it, he highlights two characteristics that great leaders have; they are both inclusive and have the common touch. This is Rhyce Shaw.
It is easy for a 32-year-old to get caught up in their own world. In a football club full of much younger players than both he and I, it is easy to arrive at the footy club each day and stick with the older guys, socialise with them, then take off at the end of the day and do it all again the next day.
Rhyce has a great ability to include younger players, make them feel welcome, help ease their homesickness to better enjoy their new club and new home. It may be a dinner one night after training, a social game of cricket, chat about a possible multi he likes, or an end of season beer at the Cloey. Rhyce doesn’t subscribe to any so-called hierarchy at the football club and the club is better for it.
He knows that what may get one person going, won’t work for another.
There are over 40 players at the football club, with differing personalities and traits. Rhyce has a great ability to have a ‘common touch’ with everyone in that he knows how each individual ticks. He knows that what may get one person going, won’t work for another. He communicates what needs to be said in a way that will resonate with the individual. Sometimes it may be direct feedback, or inspiration, or humour, or sometimes it may be simply to say nothing.
I can appreciate the path that Rhyce’s career has taken. He and I have both taken the Rahul Dravid-approach to our careers so far. He’s ruthlessly competitive, so I’m sure it was frustrating for him to see so many players he was drafted with play 50 or 100 games quicker than he did. But most likely those same players didn’t make it to 200 games like he will this weekend. Those same players may have not been able to overcome the obstacles of form and injuries along the journey like he has time, and time again.
The selfless person that he is will say that a win is a win, but I know that the game this weekend is an opportunity for us to give Shawy the milestone game he deserves because we all know what he’s done to get here, and how he would lift if it was one of us in the same position.
This article was originally published on the Sydney Swans’ official website and can be accessed in its original form here.