Rhyce Shaw can finally call himself a premiership player and put behind him the nightmare that was the opening moments of the 2003 AFL Grand Final.
As a 21-year-old, Shaw went into the Grand Final having one of his best seasons at the Magpies. He was maligned regularly when he was at Collingwood, but that year he was finally getting it together.
Collingwood entered that Grand Final hopeful of redemption, losing to the Lions the year before.
Shaw and the Pies were looking to try and end the run of the Lions, who were looking for their third premiership in a row, but the premiership dream was taken from them.
Rhyce Shaw’s opening to the Grand Final saw him spill the ball, and it was taken by Alastair Lynch who put it through for a goal. It almost signalled what was to become a nightmarish day for Collingwood, and a young Rhyce Shaw.
The Magpies were humbled that day, and Rhyce Shaw was left to wonder if he’d ever get to taste the feeling again. The fans were again questioning the ability of Rhyce Shaw, who up until that day was coming of age.
In 2008, his last year with the Magpies, Shaw had played a successful role, averaging 22 possessions a game in the first half of the season. However, a calf injury helped derail his season.
Rhyce Shaw was also involved in a drink driving incident that saw his brother Heath Shaw, Alan Didak and himself in trouble. After 94 games with Collingwood, Rhyce requested a trade and was later traded to the Sydney Swans with pick 61, while Collingwood received pick 46 in the AFL National Draft.
It would then take him a further 93 games with the Swans before he would play in just his second AFL Grand Final. Prior to this, he was a spectator with father Ray Shaw watching his brother play in the 2010 Collingwood premiership win.
Rhyce was also on hand in 2011 to help console his brother when the Magpies lost to Geelong in the Grand Final
Ironically, Rhyce was one of the Swans’ best in their Preliminary Final victory against their bogey team Collingwood. He set up many of their forward surges late in the game and took care of plenty of forward surges from the Magpies.
Heading into the third quarter of the Grand Final, it seemed as if the premiership dream that eluded his father was not going to elude him; then the Hawks made their comeback. The last quarter was just as tight, and just as tense.
A game that looked like it might have been heading towards heartbreak again for the Swans turned into a magical one, with the Hawks failing to convert their chances. With less than a minute on the click, Nick Malceski snapped the sealer and the deed was done.
Redemption finally for Rhyce Shaw, and a premiership medal shows all the hard work and sacrifices were finally rewarded.