Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

900 Up So We Need to Talk about Kevin

Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

900 Up So We Need to Talk about Kevin

Article excerpt

SHIRTFRONT

TERRY MALLINDER

KEVIN Sheedy has always been a man of vision.

It was CySheeds' who really pushed Aboriginal recruitment, the increase to the interchange bench and the introduction of the rookie list; was the driving force behind feature matches such as Anzac Day and Dreamtime at the 'G; and was the brains behind the AFL's SportsReady traineeship program Co the feather in his cap, he says.

But even he probably didn't foresee himself ever coaching again after he was overlooked for the top jobs at Melbourne and Richmond following Essendon's cutting of red and black ties with him in 2007, after a staggering 27 seasons.

Just a couple of months after the Bombers announced they would not renew his contract, Sheeds applied for the Demons position made vacant by Neale Daniher's departure, only to be beaten by a then largely unknown Dean Bailey.

Almost a year on, Sheeds was keen on returning to the club where it all started for him as player in 1968, Richmond, when the writing began appearing on the walls at Punt Rd that Terry Wallace's time was almost up. He didn't get a look in, the Tigers board opting for fresh blood in Damien Hardwick, a premiership player under Sheeds.

After jetsetting around the globe as the sport's official ambassador, Sheeds was to return to the coaching coalface after all, hired by the AFL itself in 2009 to oversee the establishment of a second franchise in the toughest market in the land.

Whether the now 64-year-old is actually the nuts and bolts coach or more the Sir Alex Ferguson Manchester United-type face of the club means little when it comes to the record books. And he goes down in history this Sunday as the first person to notch 900 VFL/AFL games as a player and coach.

For the record, he played 251 games for the Tigers, predominantly as the niggling back pocket, before crossing to Essendon in 1981 and coaching in 635 games, including seven grand finals for four premierships (1984-85, 1993, 2000). …

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