Season 2020 may prove to be the end of an era of Shaw family involvement with the departure of Rhyce Shaw as the senior coach at North Melbourne, and the departure of younger brother Heath Shaw as a player at Greater Western Sydney.
With the opportunity to get back into the AFL top-eight slipping away, it was third-gamer Jake Riccardi who sparked GWS’s nine-point win over Carlton.
With a chance to move back into the AFL top eight threatening to slip through Greater Western Sydney’s grasp, it was third-gamer Jake Riccardi who seized the moment at Metricon Stadium on Thursday.
The Giants, having scored a woeful 2.11 over three quarters against Carlton, had the 20-year-old to thank for sparking a final-quarter surge that ended in a nine-point win over the Blues.
Riccardi kicked two goals at the start of the term to all but erase the 15-point three-quarter time deficit, with his second being a thumping kick from the 50m line after a strong contested mark.
Harry Perryman and Bobby Hill then put the Giants in front as they held on for a vital win.
Giants’ coach Leon Cameron said he was impressed by the youngster’s start to his AFL career.
“It’s a great learning curve for Jake,” Cameron said.
“He’s burst on the scene and it’s a pretty fair start.
“I think he’s kicked eight goals in his first three games and we love what he’s doing, but then he had another set of challenges tonight (Thursday).
“There was different opponents on him but then to stand up in the last quarter and kick two really important goals is great.”
The victory and Melbourne’s shock loss to Sydney lifts the Giants into the eighth spot on the ladder with three matches to play.
The Giants next face last-placed Adelaide next Tuesday at the Adelaide Oval, where the Crows claimed their first win of 2020 earlier this week against Hawthorn.
With just four points separating GWS from the Demons and Western Bulldogs on the ladder, Cameron says the equation is simple for last year’s grand finalists to qualify for finals for a fifth consecutive season.
“Clearly, we had to win. Simple. We’re not relying on anyone else, we had to win,” Cameron said.
“That might sound like it puts pressure on our team, but that’s the way we have to deal with it. We now have to beat Adelaide next Tuesday, simple as that.”