The AFL career of Heath Shaw is over after Greater Western Sydney decided against offering him a contract extension.
The 34-year-old defender held out hope of earning a new one-year deal but the 325-game veteran is at peace with the Giants’ decision.
“If you’d told me 10 years ago that I’d be a life member, a club champion and two-time All-Australian and have played off in a grand final at a club that didn’t exist a decade ago, I would have taken a leaf out of Darryl Kerrigan’s book and said, ‘Tell ’em they’re dreaming’,” Shaw said.
“I don’t think an interview has gone past where I haven’t said how thankful I am to this club for a second chance, or told everyone how really special and unique this club is.
“I’m a competitive beast so I held on to the thought of another year with the Giants to try get us back to where we should be, but sometimes the decision is taken out of your hands which makes it easy.”
After playing 173 games for Collingwood, Shaw notched another 152 matches for the Giants, which included All-Australian honours in 2015 and 2016 and the Kevin Sheedy Medal in 2015.
Shaw famously announced before the 2019 grand final against Richmond that he would retire if the Giants won.
GWS ended up getting belted by 89 points in that match, and they failed to make the finals this year.
Shaw was desperate to have one final crack at leading the Giants to flag glory but it wasn’t to be.
However, Shaw at least ends his career with a premiership to his name – the 2010 flag with the Magpies.
Giants chief executive David Matthews paid tribute to Shaw.
“The trade to bring Heath Shaw to the club at the end of 2013 has proven to be one of the most significant decisions in our club’s history,” Matthews said.
“Heath came to the club at a time that we were crying out for experience and he has had a profound impact on our club since the day he walked in the doors.
“Not only has he delivered consistently on field, he has supported our AFLW team in their early years and has been integral in growing our club and the game more broadly with his personality and humour a favourite of AFL fans right across the country.”