Sheedy turns attention to life after AFL

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    Life after football is a foreign concept to Greater Western Sydney coach Kevin Sheedy. It’s no surprise given the AFL has been his life for so long.

    Sheedy is almost halfway through his 29th and final AFL/VFL season as head coach, having started his involvement with elite football prior to man landing on the moon.

    Unlike when he left Essendon, the four-time premiership coach views this exit more as his coaching swansong.

    While nursing his youngsters through a season that has so far tallied 10 losses, most of them one-sided, Sheedy has sharpened his focus on the fledging club’s future.

    He recently revealed recruitment could be the next venture after handing over the reins to right-hand man Leon Cameron at season’s end.

    The expectation is GWS will retain Sheedy in some capacity, ensuring they reap the benefit of his vast experience and sizeable promotional worth.

    “We are currently in discussions with Kevin about a role for next year and beyond but we have said that we would like him to remain with the club,” GWS chief executive Dave Matthews says.

    “The exact nature of his role is still being determined but we think he has a role to play as we continue to build the club.”

    Sheedy is not the perfunctory sort. The `ideas man’ plans on getting his hands dirty if he stays in Sydney’s west.

    “(Recruitment) is an area that has to be worked on still,” Sheedy told AAP.

    “With the talent base at our academies, we’ve got to get that better … you only have to look at what we missed out on before we got here,” Sheedy added, highlighting the origins of West Coast star Nic Naitanui and Hawthorn’s Luke Breust and Isaac Smith.

    “There’s talent out there in our zone. We’ve just got to make sure our process of capturing it is tightened and compacted.”

    It’s not just the grassroots approach Sheedy wants to finetune.

    He has plans for the next draft, the next trading period, and a marquee signing he hopes will make a Tony Lockett-like impact on the Sydney landscape.

    And as always with Sheedy, he’s still thinking outside the box.

    Unperturbed by Israel Folau’s exit after one unsuccessful AFL season, Sheedy wants to cast the net wide and sign others who are currently foreigners to the code.

    “We should really look at an American athlete or two. I think there’s more than enough basketballers in America that don’t play NBA,” Sheedy said.

    “Is it right? Can we do it? Is it a possibility? We’ll sit down as a club in the next month or two and work it out.

    “I think there’s also opportunities looking at other sports in Australia – there’s talented athletes who aren’t going to get into their respective national teams.

    “So there might be one or two there that we can look at. All those sorts of ideas have got to be put on the table.”

    The Giants will also continue to be connected to Lance Franklin, if the champion forward can be prised away from Hawthorn on a megabucks deal.

    Whether or not Sheedy’s sitting at GWS’s table – or at least their recruitment meetings alongside Graeme Allan and Stephen Silvagni – next year remains uncertain.

    But one thing is clear. Sheedy will be involved in football until the day he dies.

    “I don’t think I’ll retire,” the 65-year-old said.

    “I’m not a person that rushes over to play golf and potter around. If I want to do that I just go to my garden.”

    AAP rf/jds/jms

    © AAP 2017