By Dan Batten.
Nah. No way. Shawly not. That’s what I’m sure most of you opening this article are thinking. Heath himself is probably sure of that.
How can we forget one of the greatest SuperCoach falls from grace of all time?
Previously a SuperCoach stalwart in defence, Shaw fell with an agonising thud after 11 straight seasons averaging 90+. Shaw managed a dismal average of 83, a shadow below his dominant 2016 and 2017 campaigns that yielded 105+ averages.
On face value, picking Heath Shaw is asking for trouble. However, an injury to future premo lock Zac Williams and Nathan Wilson’s departure to the Dockers means Shaw could be jettisoned back into that rebounding defender role where he was so dearly loved.
SHAW: THE FACTS
|2018 Facts||$458,100 MID|
|2017 Games||22 (25 including finals)|
|2017 Average||83.3 (83.8 including finals)|
|2017 100+ Scores||3 (4 including finals)|
|2017 Sub-80 scores||9 (11 including finals)|
|2017 Highs & Lows||High of 118, low of 53|
One thing that was virtually non-existent in his scoring in 2017 was his high ceiling. Shaw surpassed the 120 mark on eight occasions in 2016 and failed to go past that mark once last year. His kicking game was less significant, averaging five less kicks per game and recording a kick to handball ratio of 3:1, compared to 7:1 in 2016. Nine scores below 80 for the season was also incredibly uncharacteristic.
As previously alluded to, the outs of Nathan Wilson and Zac Williams could get Shaw back to his best. It’s unlikely the Giants will get a rookie like Jeremy Finlayson is Isaac Cumming to fill the role, and Ryan Griffen played as a rebounding defender in their practice match. Even so, Shaw should (key word there is should) revert to his kick and mark friendly rebounding position in their absence.
This is exactly what he did last night in his first JLT hit-out. While Ryan Griffen – who has been mooted as a possible replacement for Williams’ role – was a late out, Lachie Whitfield played that exact position and it didn’t seem to effect Shaw at all. Heater racked up 22 disposals (20 kicks) and 113 SuperCoach points and was back getting his shifty handball receives and sideways kicks in the back 50. The Shaw we know and love.
Another massive positive is that Heath Shaw has been tearing up the track – like every player during the month of February. There is hard evidence to suggest this is more than just a throw-away line, though, given Heath Shaw ran his best 3km time trial. Yep, at the age of 32.
Last week on SEN’s Whateley, Shaw said last season was his “most draining year of footy” he’s played. This year he has taken a “fresh approach” (whatever that means) and is feeling much more refreshed. Read into it what you will, but those 3km numbers are some proof of that.
Can’t blame anyone for being completely turned off by his 2017 season. I myself got him in at Round 9, where he proceeded to score just 1 ton for the rest of the year. Am I insane?
Despite the fact he should take on the rebounding defender, he did play his weird wing role in their recent practice match that he was forced to play at times last year… Naht good for his scoring potential one bit.
Ryan Griffen has also been touted as a possible suitor, and considering his blistering speed, Giants teammates may opt to get it in his hands rather than Shaw’s.
And what happens when Zac Williams returns in the back half of the season? Will he revert to his yuck 2017 form?
They say age is just a number, but 32 doesn’t sound too crash hot for a premium. Is Shaw too old to recapture his previous form?
Many question marks here.
Remember that time he got suspended for half the season after we all traded him in? Back in the days before lockout?
It’s not relevant to anything, I’m just still angry about it. Carry on.
I can hear Admiral Ackbar yelling “It’s a trap” in the back of my head, but he is currently slotted in as my D3. He is dirt cheap and last night answered the major questions I had of Shaw entering the season. In 2017 the reason for his drop-off was that he stopped playing as a rebounding defender, but I don’t think GWS can afford to not have him playing this role – at least until Williams comes back mid-year.
Shaw is the fittest he’s ever been. He looks and sounds rejuvenated and he looms as a shrewd SuperCoach investment considering his past exploits. While we can’t expect him to average 110, I think there is every chance he averages around the 100 mark. Back to being a stats pig.
Obviously a shoddy second JLT encounter will muddy the water and may see him be flung out of my side, but we will get to that bridge when we come to it. Watch to see if Griffen’s inclusion next week impacts his scoring.