AFL icon Kevin Sheedy picks Freo as finals bolter on visit to Garden City to promote new book


Riverton resident Jim Hurst with Kevin Sheedy. Picture: Jon Hewson www.communitypix.com.au d476243
Riverton resident Jim Hurst with Kevin Sheedy. Picture: Jon Hewson www.communitypix.com.au d476243

AFL icon Kevin Sheedy says Fremantle could be a bolter to play finals in 2018.

At Garden City on Tuesday to promote the release of Kevin Sheedy: The Illustrated Autobiography, the three-time premiership player and four-time premiership coach expected the Dockers to be around the mark.

And he joked it could be two former Giants Fremantle secured by “sneaking away, picking cherries out of the east” that could add the needed spark.

“I think Freo’s pretty dangerous,” he said.

“If McCarthy gets up and plays with the talent he’s got – he was at the Giants when I was there – (they’re a chance).

“Nathan Wilson is a very good player …

“I think Fremantle might be a sneaky chance to make the eight and do ok.”

McCarthy, who came to the Dockers via the Giants at the end of 2016, kicked 25 goals from 19 games during his first campaign in purple.

Sheedy said there was improvement in the 22-year-old.

“I thought (McCarthy) was a fantastic young player coming through,” he said.

“When we drafted him I thought ‘gee this kid is going to be really good’.

“I was on the board for about a year after I stopped coaching but he showed some really good signs.

“I thought he’d be better than what he is at the moment to be honest.

“Pavlich leaving and retiring gives him an opportunity.”

He also had high hopes for Wilson, who arrived at the Dockers during October’s trade period.

“I think Wilson will give (the Dockers) good run out of the backline if they play him there because he’s quite capable of playing elsewhere eventually,” he said.

Sheedy, a veteran of more than 900 top level games as a player and coach, also shared his thoughts on Fremantle’s cross-town rivals West Coast, who he said would receive a massive boost when ruckman Nic Naitanui returns from an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

“I think Nic Nat is going to be a pretty handy player coming back,” he said.

“It was like Paddy Ryder; ruckman take a while to get better.

“Sometimes having a year off like Ryder was forced to, he got his body rested and in the end played a fantastic year and made All Australian.

“So I think there’s some plusses and bonuses there for West Coast coming through.”

He said youth was the answer to fill the hole left by the retirement of veterans Sam Mitchell and Matt Priddis.

“You just bring a couple of young, quicker players in and develop them. That’s all you do,” he said.

“I had to do that for 27 years at Essendon.

“Out goes two and in come hopefully another two. You give them 50 to 100 games and you’re up and running.

“But those two boys have been sensational.

“Mitchell has been an incredible player and Priddis to come through the ranks – to win a Sandover and a Brownlow – that’s unbelievable.”

Sheedy said he was excited to see AFL move to the $1.46 billion Perth Stadium in 2018, even if there was history lost by moving football away from Subiaco.

“It’s all about the future isn’t it? That’s the way I look at it,” he said

“You learn from history but… it’s great to see a stadium where you get more West Australians in to see a game of footy.

“One of the biggest problems I’ve found in WA when I interview people in some of the talks I do is ‘I couldn’t get in the stadium’.”

Sheedy visited Garden City to sign copies of his new book, which comes 50 years after his first senior game.

It features more than 300 photographs and covers the ebbs and flows of the last five decades and his thoughts on the game as it stands now.

It is also filled with contributions from Mark Thompson, Ron Barassi, Dennis Lillee, Greg Chappell and many other sporting identities.

“I’ve got 80,000 photos and I thought I’d share them with the community of footy and people in general,” he said.

“I think there’s marvellous stories in the book for everybody to grab.

“It’s a small picture of what you can do with your life if you give it your best shot.

“People have to remember – and young people in particular – life’s a gift from your parents. We didn’t earn it so don’t let them down.”

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