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Sheedy, finally, is ready to put away the boot polish

Date

Andrew Tate

COMMENT

IN THE first shaky weeks of his 1981 debut season coaching at Essendon, Kevin Sheedy famously raised the prospect of once again pulling on the boots.

It is history that Sheedy's 'threat' was the catalyst for his young team to win 15 games in row, setting up the Bombers for a great era and marking the start of a coaching legend.

Sheedy, it seems, has been kitted up and ready to go ever since.

Today's confirmation that the master coach will take the reins for one more season at Greater Western Sydney before handing over the senior responsibilities to Leon Cameron could therefore be seen as a continuation of that legacy — Sheedy as everywhere man.

His late-career bloom this year saw him coach the young men of GWS to two glorious wins in their debut season, next year the to-do list includes helping shape the destiny of a man widely touted as the AFL's brightest new coaching prospect.

But even Cameron's own impressive CV — 256 games and a decade as an assistant coach — was not enough for him to escape his first media conference with Sheedy without some trademark wackiness.

"He looks like Paul Roos," Sheedy grinned as he pointed to the impeccably dressed Cameron complete with flash orange and white tie. It alluded to the Giants' ongoing battle to make their part of Sydney their own and Sheedy's sledging of Roos as 'The Sundance Kid'.

The message seemed to be, anything the Swans can do, we can do better and Cameron smiled through it all, before returning immediately to more serious matters.

It was a reminder that the Giants are hellbent on translating the early successes of establishing a club into competing for a flag in the years ahead. Young men will need a younger leader.

Sheedy himself acknowledges this saying Cameron's appointment was another step to the club fulfilling it's potential. "To me, it's an opportunity for us to get the best talent to come to our club," he said.

The 'promoter-in-chief' may well continue beyond 2013 when he steps down as senior coach, but going forward it is clear the young Giants will be moulded by Cameron — a man forged in the process-driven atmosphere of modern Hawthorn.

Sheedy himself reminded everyone of Cameron's long apprenticeship in coaching — seven years at the Bulldogs and another three with Hawthorn under Alastair Clarkson — comparing it to his own journey, having served only one year under Tony Jewell at Richmond before joining the the Bombers in 1981.

More than 30 years on a coach like Cameron has no illusions about pulling on the boots to help out his boys. With Sheedy's staged exit, even he may have finally admitted it's time to put away the boot polish.

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