GWS Giants defender Heath Shaw wants to keep Lance Franklin kickless

GWS player Heath Shaw models the Giants’ 2015 ANZAC Day strip at Manuka Oval. Photo: Matt BedfordSince moving from Collingwood, the two things Heath Shaw’s missed are finals and Anzac Day.
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He’ll tick one of those boxes at Manuka Oval in April and hopes this season Greater Western Sydney will take a step towards the other.

The Giants plan to kick off their 2015 campaign against the Sydney Swans with their final pre-season game at Manuka and the cheeky Shaw hoped Swans forward Lance Franklin helped draw a big crowd – but failed to get a kick.

Shaw played in six Anzac Day clashes for Collingwood against Essendon at the MCG and won the Anzac Medal  as best-on-ground in 2007.

With 18 finals and one premiership under his belt at the Pies, playing in front of 90,000 “lunatics” at the MCG was a regular occurrence for Shaw.

It’s those big games in front of packed houses that Shaw says he’s missed the most.

He’s excited about rekindling the Anzac spirit when the Giants play the Gold Coast Suns at Manuka on Anzac Day next month and he’s confident GWS will take a step this season towards playing finals, after finishing 2014 with two wins from their last three games.

Shaw said they would have one eye on the Swans and the other on St Kilda in round one.

“Coming from a club that played finals nearly every year, to miss out on September action last year was a bit of a weird feeling,” he said.

“I think we have the ability to play finals, but the thing is you have to win a certain amount of games to get there.”

For Shaw it was the moment those screaming fans go quiet as the Last Post sounds that he remembers, and misses, the most.

While the Anzac Day clash at Manuka will be on a smaller scale, he’s still looking forward to the moment when it  goes quiet and the trumpet sends shivers down everyone’s spine.

The Giants will wear a specially designed guernsey for their first Anzac clash, which they hope will become a permanent fixture on the AFL calendar.

“It’s amazing, obviously the Last Stand is something that’s very unique, you’ve got 90,000 people coming to watch the game usually screaming and being lunatics and they’re all silent for the Last Post,” Shaw said.

“It’s an amazing feeling and it’s great to be involved in.

“Everyone gets excited about the game, excited gets excited about playing on such a big occasion and hopefully these young boys take it in and enjoy the day.”

Shaw will slot into the Giants defence  with the job of trying to stop arguably the best forward in the AFL.

Franklin finished second in the 2014 Brownlow Medal and was the Coleman Medal in a year he helped the Swans to the grand final.

“He’s a drawcard, the people of Canberra probably haven’t gotten the opportunity to see him play,” he said.

“It’ll be good for them and hopefully he doesn’t get a kick, to be brutally honest.

“We’ve got a few young key defenders that want to have a crack at one of the best forwards in the land.”

NAB CHALLENGE

Sunday: GWS Giants v Sydney Swans at Manuka Oval, 1.10pm. Tickets available from Ticketek.

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