Stronger for suf­fer­ing

Sheedy con­fi­dent Gi­ants can kick on from cur­rent woe

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - AFL - NEIL CORDY

KEVIN Sheedy is con­fi­dent the Gi­ants will come out of their cur­rent fourgame los­ing streak a stronger team — point­ing to the turnaround he achieved at Essendon in the early 1980s and Rich­mond’s rise over the past cou­ple of sea­sons.

GWS’s in­au­gu­ral coach and the AFL’s new­est ‘Leg­end’ said the Gi­ants will learn more from their slump — which is in dan­ger of stretch­ing to five games to­day away to Ade­laide — than if they were win­ning and will come out the other side bet­ter for it.

In Sheedy’s first year at Essendon (1981) he had the crit­ics call­ing for his head when he started with only one win in his first six games. The Bombers re­cov­ered to win 15 of the next 16 to play in the fi­nals.

Sheedy isn’t pre­dict­ing a sim­i­lar re­cov­ery from the Gi­ants this year but says Leon Cameron will be­come a bet­ter coach by study­ing his team closely dur­ing this slump.

“Leon has fi­nally said hello to some losses,” Sheedy told The Sun­day Tele­graph. “This is the pe­riod where you learn. You don’t learn that much when you win but when you lose you learn a truck load. You look, re­ally keep look­ing hard to work out your prob­lems and delve into the loss. As a coach you ask your­self how did you muck that up? That’s what’s hap­pen­ing with Leon now.”

Sheedy pointed to Rich­mond’s dis­as­trous 2016 sea­son and the Swans’ hor­ror start to 2017 as ex­am­ples of what he is talk­ing about.

“Take a look at the bad year Rich­mond had be­fore they won the flag,” Sheedy said. “They fin­ished 13th and Damien Hard­wick was un­der huge pres­sure then they won the premier­ship the next year. The Swans lost six in a row last year and they are a good side who played in fi­nals. It is a game of the mind, it’s all be­tween the ears.”

Sheedy also points to the hor­ror run with in­juries which has seen them loose their star play­ers Josh Kelly, Toby Greene and Phil Davis for ex­tended pe­ri­ods of time.

“It’s just con­fi­dence, in­juries and new play­ers com­ing in, they just need games,” Sheedy said.

“You have a look at the last 8-10 play­ers they’ve brought in from their devel­op­ment ar­eas.”

Sheedy was hon­oured at the Hall of Fame in­duc­tion last Tues­day night, be­com­ing just the third coach to re­ceive Leg­end sta­tus, along­side icons Jock McHale (Colling­wood, seven pre­mier­ships) and Norm Smith (Mel­bourne, six pre­mier­ships).

Pic­ture: Brett Costello

For­mer Gi­ants coach Kevin Sheedy.

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