Team bond: Lance Franklin (left) and Rhyce Shaw bang out the club song after a win.

Team bond: Lance Franklin (left) and Rhyce Shaw bang out the club song after a win. Photo: Getty Images

Rhyce Shaw once thought 100 games would make a decent career so, in theory, reaching 200 means he has had two careers. The reality has not been much different either.

If not for a lifeline thrown by Sydney at the end of 2008, Shaw figures he would have spent the past few years playing local footy and working as a "brickie's labourer" at Diamond Creek, in Melbourne's north-east.

After 94 games and nine years at Collingwood, Shaw's football had stagnated. Had he stayed at the club where his family name is royalty, he figures he would have lasted 12 months tops.

Moving north away from friends and family, Shaw said, forced him to grow up, turn his life around and realise how much of his career he had wasted.

"First three or four years I didn't take the game serious enough, I wasn't very professional," said Shaw, who lines up for his 200th career game against Brisbane on Saturday.

"I did a few things that I probably regret. I just didn't make the most of my opportunities.

"That's some of the things I preach to the young guys now – you're in AFL as long as you want to be.

"If you do all the right things now, you make the most of it and play for 10 years."

Shaw now considers himself "definitely a Sydney man". To place this in perspective, the Shaw family at Collingwood is held in similar esteem to the Gasnier name at St George.

Shaw's father Ray, who played from 1974-81, captained the Magpies and won a best and fairest. His uncle won two Copeland Trophies and led the club to their famous drought-breaking premiership in 1990.

"I've played more games for Sydney now than I have at Collingwood," Shaw said.

"I'll take the Swans but there is the history there. I'm very proud of that. My family's been involved there for 30-odd years and you never forget about that stuff. But I'm definitely a Sydney Swan now and I'm really proud of it."

There are only 12 other players left in the league  who were there when Shaw played his first game in 2000.

Of that group, which includes Jonathan Brown, Ryan O'Keefe and Paul Chapman, Shaw, in his 15th season, is the last to reach the double ton, thanks to a combination of his own mistakes and two knee reconstructions

A second anterior cruciate ligament tear, last year in round 22 after missing four months earlier in the year with an abdominal strain,  could have ended his career had it not been for the radical LARS procedure.

"To get back and do my knee was just shattering," Shaw said.

"I'd worked so hard and for that to go was really hard. You have all those question marks about what's going on, how old you are, but once I got the news I could get the LARS it was all sweet.

"We did it that Wednesday, got straight into rehab, I didn't have time to think about it. I knew I could get back with the support of my teammates, family and wife."

Shaw's indiscretions with the Magpies have been well documented but not so the off-field impact he has made with the Swans.

To judge his contribution by his premiership medallion and two runner-up finishes in the best and fairest would be to sell him short.

As coach John Longmire describes him, Shaw is a "terrific football person". Other Swans love him because there are few who care for his teammates as much as Shaw.

Last year when Shaw was sidelined for much of the year through injury, he did what any senior player at a local club would do – he became an unofficial assistant coach and water boyfor the reserves.

When Gary Rohan was battling dark times recovering from a broken leg, Shaw's advice helped him keep his chin up.

"He's a terrific football person and a great asset to have for the club," Longmire said. "We're really fortunate that we've got him."