IT’S hard to imagine rocking up to a Wildcats weights session or getting ready to hit the court without the great man, Shawn Redhage.
But that’s how it’s going to be next season after he announced his retirement this week.
To think back to when I first entered the league eight seasons ago, Shawn was this formidable figure, dominant on the court and the captain of the team.
An absolute beast once he crossed that white line, he wanted to impose his competitive will upon the game and his opponents.
Shawn had the ability to communicate efficiently with his teammates.
He took me under his wing, showing me what it took to be a professional athlete.
He showed me how to be a leader; that you make the most of your talents through sheer hard work.
He showed me how to get the most out of your body and that your mind can achieve incredible things when your back’s against the wall.
After a serious hip injury in 2011, doctors told him it was unlikely he would return to his former ability or even make a comeback, but he definitely showed them.
Shawn has always had the utmost confidence in me.
I remember a play-off game against the Illawarra Hawks, I hadn’t shot well for the most part and we called a time out with 45 seconds left.
He came over to me and said: “Greg, time and time again this year you’ve come up with big plays, you’re going to knock this shot down”.
I knew I was going to hit it after that.
Last of all, Shawny, I want to thank you for showing me how to be a champion, a person people want to follow, a fantastic dad and a great friend.
You’ve left an imprint on the club that will last forever.