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Draft flashbacks: Shane Edwards

Draft flashbacks: 2006 Edwards Watch vision of Shane Edwards representing South Australia in the under 20's championship.
Shane Edwards in action during the Round 8 AFL match between the Adelaide Crows and Richmond Tigers at AAMI Stadium.
Shane Edwards in action during the Round 8 AFL match between the Adelaide Crows and Richmond Tigers at AAMI Stadium in 2007.

In the lead-up to the 2015 National Draft on November 24, is taking a look back at some of the players who have entered the AFL system over the past decade and will line up for the Tigers in season 2016. The final player we’re focusing on is key playmaker Shane Edwards, who was taken by Richmond with its second pick (No. 26 overall) in the 2006 National Draft.

As a youngster growing up in the Adelaide suburb of Golden Grove, Shane Edwards’ primary sporting passion was basketball.

He much preferred shooting hoops to kicking a footy. But that started changing when he was eight years old.

Edwards became jealous when his best mate, who lived across the road from him, joined the local football club. So Edwards decided to follow his mate and pull the boots on for the Golden Grove Kookaburras.

He made an immediate impression in the junior ranks at the club, which was little wonder, given his rich football heritage.

Edwards’ father, Greg, had been a star, young full-forward for Central Districts in the SANFL. He was the first player (and only one so far) in Central’s history to kick 100 goals in a season (1982), and was on track for an outstanding career, until an injury left him blind in his left eye and forced him to retire at just 20 years of age.

Greg’s father Doug played for West Torrens and North Adelaide, while his brother, Russell, was a Port Adelaide player before it entered the AFL competition.

For the past five years, Greg has been the CEO at North Adelaide, where his younger son Kym now also plays.

Shane was playing in the under-13s at Golden Grove Kookaburras, when he received a letter of interest from North Adelaide, the SANFL club he was zoned to.

He subsequently signed with the Roosters, even though Central Districts could have claimed him under the SANFL’s father-son rule. Apparently, Centrals missed out on securing him because they got his age wrong.

Their loss was most certainly North Adelaide’s gain, as Edwards made fine progress through the ranks with the Roosters.
In 2006, aged just 17, and weighing only 69kg, Edwards debuted for North Adelaide’s senior side.

He was an impressive performer playing on a wing in 10 senior games all-up with the Roosters that season, including their finals campaign (they lost to Woodville-West Torrens in the preliminary final by seven points).

Edwards also represented SA in the under-18 national championships during the 2006 season.

Post-season, he produced some eye-catching performances at the AFL draft camp, being ranked in the top three of participants in the beep test, 3km time trial and standing vertical leap.

As one of just nine SA young players invited to the ’06 draft camp, Edwards really shone with his fitness levels, work ethic, ability to handle pressure and exemplary attitude.

The phantom drafts in the lead-up to the real thing (the 2006 National Draft) had Edwards rising rapidly up the charts on the back of his form at senior level with North Adelaide and his showing at the draft camp.

Here’s a snapshot of what the phantom drafts were saying about Shane Edwards . . .

“Midfielder/forward who played 10 senior games and was one of the best in North Adelaide's preliminary final. Represented SA at U-18s. Excellent endurance, reads the play well, but may need time in the gym.”

“Very much an outside winger with electric pace and long-kicking. Loves open spaces and showed some toughness in the SANFL that belied his light frame. Can be wasteful when he runs too far and doesn’t steady before kicking. Has good form in senior company, finishing the season very strongly.” 

“Classy, quick midfielder who is smart around goals and evasive. Has excellent skills under pressure.”

Edwards eventually was picked by Richmond at No. 26 in that ’06 National Draft.

He has since gone on to establish himself as one of the Tigers’ most important players due to his all-round skills set and capacity to create opportunities for teammates.

What they said after he was drafted
"He's come from a long way back and has made huge progress in a short space of time . . . There’s a lot of upside to him.” – Richmond recruiting manager Francis Jackson.

Richmond’s other National Draft selections in 2006
No. 13 – Jack Riewoldt
No. 58 – Daniel Connors
No. 60 – Carl Peterson
No. 73 – Andrew Collins

Other notable AFL National Draft selections in 2006
Bryce Gibbs (No. 1, Carlton)
Travis Boak (No. 5, Port Adelaide)
Joel Selwood (No. 7, Geelong)
David Armitage (No. 9, St Kilda)
Shaun Grigg (No. 19, Carlton)
Kurt Tippett (No. 32, Adelaide)
Todd Goldstein (No. 37, North Melbourne)
Bachar Houli (No. 42, Essendon)

Career to date
Games – 168
Goals – 114
Average disposals – 16.02
Honors – Fourth in the 2014 Jack Dyer Medal