SOMETIMES you get lucky enough to see a sportsman standing on the cusp of something special.
That’s the place Dom Sheed is in now.
On the eve of a new AFL season, the left-footer heads in brimming with confidence and ready to emerge as one of the game’s very best.
If his drop punt to seal West Coast‘s fourth premiership made him a folk hero, the confidence he took from it could make him a superstar.
Sheed’s career has been a roller coaster since he was taken with pick 11 in the 2013 National Draft.
Now, heading into his sixth season, it’s all come together.
It’s easy to forget, now the image of Sheed screaming like Iggy Pop has been embedded in every Eagles supporters psyche, but he was dropped three times last season.
It was Andrew Gaff’s punch on Andrew Brayshaw that threw him a lifeline – and the Kalgoorlie boy is running with it.
Sheed has been best on ground in the Eagles’ two pre-season fixtures, notching 39 touches against Geelong and 40 against Fremantle.
In the last six games of last season he averaged 28.1 disposals, and his 32 touches – plus a handy goal – in the Grand Final saw him in Norm Smith Medal contention.
(Sheed’s second-most important contribution was one that didn’t even trouble the boffins at Champion Data – a little fist on the ball to keep it out of Scott Pendlebury’s clutches during the frantic final moments.)
“We don’t play as many mids (this year),” Eagles coach Adam Simpson said last August when quizzed about Sheed’s ommission.
“The squeeze was on, so someone was going to miss out.
“He’s had a few opportunities – some he’s taken, some he hasn’t.”
Well, this last one he’s taken.
In February, Sheed, who turns 24 next month, signed a two-year contract extension, believed to worth about $450,000 per year.
It’s easy to see why he jumped at it but, given the form he’s in, his accountant might have told him to hold off a month or two.
“Yeah, I felt good,” Sheed said after yesterday’s hit-out at Mandurah’s David Grays Arena (nothing to do with the moody singer-songwriter, I checked).
Ever a master of understatement, Sheed heads into season 2019 with the world at his feet.
It’s Dom’s Party, and we’re all invited.