Rhiarn Shaw - Victoria's Dual-Athlete
""Recovery is key to get the best out of yourself for each sport; eat the right foods and set aside some time for yourself when you can."
Players playing two sports is nothing entirely new; however, with saying that it does take a high level of both dedication and commitment in order to juggle two sports, especially two very different sports.
But why would you put yourself through that extra work when you could easily just stick to one sport?
Well, more often than not the answer simply comes down to passion; they love both sports and therefore want to play both for as long as possible. Which is fair, considering that they can also transfer some of the skills they learnt from one sport into the other and vice versa.
And as you are about to find out, the same qualities that it takes in order to be able to juggle two sports effectively, also add up to make a very promising footballer.
As for Rhiarn Shaw, 2020 marks her fifth season of club football after previously spending one season with Geelong Amateurs in the boy’s league and the remaining four seasons with St Marys Geelong in the girl’s league.
But while her football career can be considered as rather young, it is by no means the only sport she plays.
“I have played netball since I could walk basically and still do; I also played basketball for quite a few years as a part of Corio Bay Stingrays and CCG Eagles.”
And as we hinted at earlier; it does take a fair level of commitment to juggle two sports, but it seems that Rhiarn has found a winning formula.
“I just make sure that I get plenty of rest between trainings and games and do recovery heaps, as well as eating the right foods. Some weeks can be full on, but I usually manage it well.”
However, keeping in mind that she has played netball since she could “basically walk”; what was it that made her want to try a different sport?
“I guess just growing up with my parents both watching footy as well as my dad playing, I just found it so enjoyable to watch so I decided to get involved and have just loved it ever since.”
And after hearing about her career, it is safe to say that we are also happy that she decided to try out football; because not only has she created some great memories for herself, but she has also become quite a promising prospect.
However, even some of her favourite memories and moments also go to show how dedicated she is; because instead of just being about success, her favourite moments are more about getting to experience the next tier of football and figuring out what it would take to reach the national stage.
“I would have to say making Interleague, V Line twice and the Next Gen Academy; versing Melbourne teams late last year and then Falcons, stepping up the competition levels from local to representative and gaining more knowledge from it and realising what it would really take to make the big league of AFLW.”
But of course, all of these experiences came from just playing the game that she loves.
“I love how competitive the game is and how there are so many different ways of bringing the game together and creating a strong team.”
“Also, you form so many strong friendships along the way and they become lifelong ones. It is great having girls outside of school to be able to socialise with that you share such a strong passion with and get to play the game alongside each other."
"It creates an escape away from schooling and life, just to enjoy and relax with something that means a lot to me.”
“Having played in teams with boys before, I was told from a young age that girls have no need in playing professional football and there will be no pathway for us. Getting told by my coach at Geelong Amateurs that I couldn’t go up to U13’s with the boys because ‘girls can’t compete against boys and will get hurt’ was a real heartbreak.”
“But now that there is a pathway for girls in the football industry and that we can even make it into the big league makes it even more worthwhile, and being able to look up to women, and especially for me Tayla Harris, Moana Hope, Steph Chiocci and Rocky Cranston is just amazing.”
And considering that it is safe to say that she is certainly passionate and dedicated about football; it isn’t much of a surprise that the last few years have really shown what Rhiarn is possible of achieving.
“Having kicked 26 goals for St Marys last year was amazing and getting runner up Best and Fairest for St Marys in 2017.”
But even despite all of this success; her most cherished memories are in fact.
“Definitely all the friendships I have made along the way and seeing how far we have come as a group and playing in a Grand Final in 2017 but sadly losing by one point, but it was an awesome experience.”
While we have already mentioned dedication, commitment and passion at the beginning of this article as examples of qualities that can make great footballers; Rhiarn goes one further and also adds gratitude to this list.
And this is because, despite the amount of success, she hasn’t forgotten about her teammates or the clubs she has played for.
For example, playing with St Marys Geelong has been “really good; it is great playing locally and just having a good time with teammates and playing against all the other girls from other teams”.
Likewise, last year also saw her experience the next tier of football with the Geelong Falcons which “was such an awesome experience”.
“Just having a heavier load each training session and knowing that the expectations are much higher helped me learn to perform better under pressure.”
"We learnt how to work better as a team, as well as how to perform at a higher level and use our skills to help the team build during a game.”
“Would just like to thank Jason, who was a great coach to have. He knew when to push the girls and when to be firm, but it was to help us individually as an individual plus as a team and it really showed during the season.”
However, there are still more people that she would love to thank for helping reach this extremely promising position.
“Anthony Petkovic for coaching me during school football and helping me to learn my strength and weakness to improve and use them in a game.”
“And also, to my mum for also supporting me during all my football experiences and taking me anywhere and everywhere.”
So, with a pretty impressive few years of football already under her belt and a dedication and passion that cannot be questioned; what is next for this promising centre half forward?
“Probably to just keep playing for as long as I can and keep enjoying it, but I would also love to play for Geelong in their VFLW team one day.”
At the end of the day, not only does Rhiarn have the right mindset but also the skills to match; which means that it is possible that this dual-athlete may in fact end up achieving higher than what her own goals are today.
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