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Shaw's 'small' step

In the rooms: Sam Shaw Round 4 Adelaide debutant Sam Shaw speaks to Channel Crow following the Club's win over GWS.
Shaw receives the traditional Powerade shower in the rooms after the game

Veteran Michael Doughty has described defender Sam Shaw’s first AFL game against Greater Western Sydney on Saturday night as one of the best debuts he’s seen in his time at West Lakes.

Drafted by the Crows with pick No.45 in the 2009 AFL Draft, Shaw’s first two seasons at Adelaide were ruined by back, hamstring and shin injuries.

The 21-year-old was finally able to put consecutive games together for Glenelg in the latter-part of last year, using the experience as a springboard into his third AFL pre-season.

The agile 193cm, 88kg, backman was a standout over the summer, playing all five NAB Cup games including Adelaide’s Grand Final win over West Coast.

He was unlucky to miss out on selection in the opening three rounds of the season proper, but kept his name in front of the selectors with three solid performances for the Bays and was rewarded with his long-awaited debut in the twilight clash with GWS.

Shaw displayed good composure on debut, collecting 13 possessions, three marks and a team-high six rebound 50ms. His spoiling and ability to read the play were also highlights of his game.

Lining up alongside the athletic left-footer in defence, Doughty said he’d been impressed with his teammate’s temperament.

“Sam’s a ripper. He played really well and looks very comfortable at AFL level,” Doughty told afc.com.au after the game.

“His first game was one of the best I’ve seen first-up, so it was a great effort by him. He was good all pre-season and deserved his opportunity.”

Soaked in Powerade and rain from the slippery AAMI Stadium conditions, Shaw was thrilled to have finally pulled on the Crows guernsey after two tough years in the AFL system.

“It feels fantastic. It’s still washing over me at the moment, I think. I’ve got a fair few emotions, but it’s obvious great to have a win in my first game,” Shaw said.

“I was a bit rusty early, but found I worked my way into the game as it wore on. It was certainly a step up from the SANFL even though we were playing GWS, who are a little bit inexperienced with a lot of youth coming through.

“It’s the start of another journey now. It’s taken a couple of years to finally get a game, and when you’re drafted that’s all you’re focused on.

“I’ve moved on to the next step of the journey. Tonight was just one small step in that. Now, I’ll look to continue to play games throughout the year and have good form.”

Bruce and Jo Shaw were on hand to watch their son play his anticipated first game, presenting him with the No.34 jumper in the rooms prior to the match.

“It was fantastic to have them here … I don’t think they would’ve missed it for the world,” Shaw said.