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My Story: Shane Edwards opens up (HS)

LeeToRainesToRoach

Tiger Legend
Jun 4, 2006
25,490
2,383
Melbourne
My Story: Shane Edwards opens up on ‘mythical ceature’ Bachar Houli, Richmond’s two flags and the best he’s played with
(paywalled)
Shane Edwards
Herald Sun
March 14, 2020


BY the time I had turned 10 or 11, my future premiership teammate Bachar Houli was already a legend in Adelaide.

Not that he would have known it.

Growing up in South Australia and playing junior footy with the mighty Golden Grove Kookaburras, there were whispers about a kid in Melbourne called Bachar who was apparently as big as everyone’s dad.

The story went he would kick 20 goals a game and get in fights with not just players from the opposing teams, but their parents as well.

We heard the name Bachar was actually a nickname as in “Basher”, because he liked to bash people.

He became this almost mythical creature from the home of footy in Victoria where kids were bigger and nastier.

Shane Edwards lines up for goal as a junior playign in the SANFL. Picture: Stephen Laffer
Shane Edwards for South Australia. Picture: Cathy Davis

1. Shane Edwards lines up for goal as a junior playign in the SANFL. Picture: Stephen Laffer
2. Shane Edwards for South Australia. Picture: Cathy Davis


To all of us he sounded terrifying and over the years the legend only grew.

This rumour started in under-12s and went all the way through to under-15s.

I remember then seeing him for the first time a few years later and thinking, ‘Wow, that’s Bachar Houli, he’s a real person!’

He had muscles and facial hair before anyone else, and then I met him and soon realised he’s the nicest guy you’ll ever come across.

I quickly realised he’s the last person in the world to enjoy bashing people or getting in a fight with anyone’s parents.

But one part of the legend actually was true – he was often kicking 20 goals a game in the juniors.

We came across each other again at the AFL draft camp in Canberra in 2006 and we were in a similar group — medium forwards.

We did the beep test, which was my first and thankfully my last time I had to go through that.

I was only 65kg at the time so I think I won it or came close to winning it.

The next day we had the 3km time-trial and I also did well on that because again I was so light.

I remember actually beating Bachar and afterwards he made a point of coming over to me.

“Well done mate, great run,” he said.

Everyone was obviously really competitive and here was the one guy actually being nice and respectful to everyone else.

Bachar Houli congradulates Shane Edwards after their beep test at the 2006 AFL Draft camp.

Bachar Houli congradulates Shane Edwards after their beep test at the 2006 AFL Draft camp.

Yep, the very same “Basher” I’d heard all those tall tales about years earlier.

Later on when he joined me at Richmond after leaving Essendon, I quickly realised he was a much better runner than me.

He absolutely blossomed when he hit the AFL system, whereas I’ve pretty much kept the same time and had to add weight on.

I never would have thought I would play in two flags with “Basher”, my junior footy bogyman from Victoria who turned out to be by far the nicest guy I’ve ever met.

EARLY DAYS AT PUNT RD

I’LL never forget my early days at Tigerland at the end of 2006.

I’d just been drafted, it was my first day at the club and I’d been handed the No.10 jumper, which had last been worn by 203cm ruckman Greg Stafford.

At the time they still only had the No.10 jumper in his size and I had to pose up in it.

I was just swimming in this jumper. I looked horrible.

I was 65kg, had never lifted a weight in my life to that point.

I looked absolutely awful.

If I was the club I would have undrafted me and sent me packing back to South Australia on a one-way ticket immediately.

Despite that incident, my early days there were incredible and I just remember constantly being in awe.

At the time the facilities at Punt Rd weren’t what they are today.

I remember thinking that my old SANFL club North Adelaide boasted better digs than this historic AFL club.

Often we would find possum poo on the floor of the gym in the mornings.

It didn’t bother me. I was at an AFL club and walking the hallways with the likes of Matthew Richardson.

Edwards after being drafted by the Tigers.

Edwards after being drafted by the Tigers.

JACK AND I

I WAS drafted to Richmond alongside Jack Riewoldt, but that was not the first time I met him.

We had crossed paths months earlier at the AFL draft camp and you couldn’t miss him.

He was the loudest kid by a mile, cracking jokes with all the coaches while everyone else was just afraid of their own shadow.

Early in Jack’s career, the older guys probably would have thought, “Who is this loud and confident kid?”

That is just Jack though, and he’s never been afraid to speak up.

He was an absolute gun straight away, even though it took him a few years to get regular games because “Richo” was there.

He is just the smartest player and I remember years ago we would call him footy’s “Rain Man” because he just knew where the footy was always going to go.

The only problem with fitting into game plans is Jack is smart enough to almost beat the system and just kick a goal.

It’s almost like stopping him from kicking a goal and playing into the system, because he’s just ridiculously smart.

I fully believe that if Jack had just played in the midfield from day one he’d probably be one of the best mids in the comp. He’s just good at everything.

We’ve experienced the ups and downs at the club together for almost 15 years.

We’ve got our inside jokes and it’s good knowing that when we talk about stories from Richmond back in the day, Jack knows exactly what I’m talking about.

The Tigers’ 2006 draft class - including Jack Riewoldt (middle back) and Shane Edwards (front right).

The Tigers’ 2006 draft class - including Jack Riewoldt (middle back) and Shane Edwards (front right).

THE TRANSFORMATION AT PUNT RD

I PLAYED almost seven seasons of AFL before playing my first final.

Before that, I would sit on the couch at my parents’ home in Adelaide and watch the teams run around in September.

My off-season had already started and here were these players all finding another gear with everything on the line.

I remember thinking, “I’m buggered, the season was that hard. I have no idea about how those blokes are playing finals”.

Then once you’re in it you realise it’s largely the adrenaline that carries you through.

The difference of having a positive season rather than a negative one is actually refreshing.

The transformation at Richmond in my time has been incredible.

The journey has been gradual in terms of improving facilities, then slowly making finals every now and then or not making it to making finals regularly.

Now I feel surprised if we lose two games in a row.

Back in the day, I was just happy to be playing and to be out there.

It’s different these days.

The system is working really well and it’s a happy environment and very progressive.

PREMIERSHIPS

THE first flag in 2017 was just surreal, I couldn’t believe it.

Even after the game at functions and the after party, my partner Sam or my dad or brother would say to me: “You just won the Grand Final.”

Those words would almost shock me again and make me think, “How did we do that?”

The whole month of finals went so quick it was just perfect.

The flag last September felt different.

I can’t think of it without thinking of Marlion Pickett.

Having him play almost took the attention away from the gravity of the event.

It changed the mindset a lot because you wanted to help Marlion just be comfortable.

It diverted a bit of your attention to look outside yourself and it probably really helped us calm the nerves.

It was extraordinary.

You wouldn’t think winning the Grand Final would almost be second-place news on the day.

Coach Damien Hardwick, Shane Edwards and captain Trent Cotchin with the 2019 premiership cup. Picture: Michael Klein.

Coach Damien Hardwick, Shane Edwards and captain Trent Cotchin with the 2019 premiership cup. Picture: Michael Klein.
 
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LeeToRainesToRoach

Tiger Legend
Jun 4, 2006
25,490
2,383
Melbourne
part 2...

BEST I’VE PLAYED WITH

IN my time at the club, I’ve played with some truly remarkable players.

It’s almost impossible to split them, but three players come to mind.

“Dusty” Martin is probably at the highest peak.

“Richo” is probably the best overall player, but I reckon Riewoldt is the most underrated.

He’s had the highest degree of difficulty in his position for the longest and been the best player at that.

So I’d almost say Riewoldt is the best, just by the fact he’s an undersized key forward who’s held the fort down for years and thrived at it.

THE FUTURE

I’M contracted for this season and the next, so I like to think I’ve still got plenty of football left in me.

Although, I must admit I have an eye on the future.

Recruitment and list management is an area I’m interested in and I’ve been doing a fair bit of stuff with our recruiters the past couple of years, going out watching under-18 games.

I’ve been learning a lot and hopefully I can transition into something like that after footy because I’m really interested in that side of the game.
 
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Ripplestick

Tiger Superstar
Jan 18, 2007
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Thanks for posting. I remember watching Shedda run around at coburg and even then you could see hee was a special talent with something that separated him from The others.
 
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aoc1974

Tiger Superstar
Mar 1, 2015
1,267
1,524
Thanks Roachy........ fantastic story and sort of makes me sad thinking of blokes like Shane coming to the end in a couple of years.
Just as he reckons Jack is underrated, it's amazing how many non tiger mates I've got who've said. ... Gee, I never realised how good a player that Edwards bloke is!
I'm just going to savour every opportunity to watch him til it's over:)
 
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leon

Tiger Legend
Apr 6, 2014
5,318
328
Really enjoyable reading; thanks for posting. Love Shane's modesty and honesty. I still remember first hearing Bachar's name, but knowing nothing about him and thinking, "Gee he seems to have a reputation!'
 
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TigerForce

Richmond has a better list.
Apr 26, 2004
50,065
1,909
It's funny seeing photos of players at their teen years. Jack looks 100% larrikin.

Might have posted it before some time last season, but I reckon Shank can do a Boomer Harvey and play with us til he's 40.
 
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TT33

GO TIGES!!!
Feb 17, 2004
3,982
422
Melbourne
Thanks for that L2, a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Shane was always a good player. In the early days imo he was too "smart" for a lot of then team mates, as our list improved his true value to the team has been realised.
Imo the "Shank" nickname was wrong, a lot of the time he was ready to pass the ball to a team mate, but the player wasn't where he should be, Shane would pull the kick.
 
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spook

Tiger Legend
Jun 18, 2007
11,485
1,835
Melbourne
"I fully believe that if Jack had just played in the midfield from day one he’d probably be one of the best mids in the comp."

There were a couple of us here who used to argue the same.
 
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Baloo

Delisted Free Agent
Nov 8, 2005
36,289
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"I fully believe that if Jack had just played in the midfield from day one he’d probably be one of the best mids in the comp."

There were a couple of us here who used to argue the same.

Was that the "Jack is just a HFF" faction or a different one?
 
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