Veteran Sydney Swans defender Rhyce Shaw says anyone who thinks it’s time for Adam Goodes to retire has got “rocks in their heads”.
The dual Brownlow medallist will play in the reserves for the first time in his illustrious 17-season AFL career on Saturday, after offering to be dropped rather than be a substitute in the Swans’ derby against Greater Western Sydney at the SCG.
Goodes’ quiet start to the 2015 season has led to comments from critics – including two-time premiership-winning teammate Jude Bolton – that the utility may have played one season too many.
But Shaw is adamant such remarks underestimate his teammate’s resilience.
“Anyone who says that’s got rocks in their heads,” Shaw told reporters on Friday.
“He’s a champion at the game and he’ll go out on his terms when he’s ready – and I can tell you right now he’s not ready.”
Goodes played just 15 frustrating minutes of game time as a sub last weekend against Port Adelaide.
Coach John Longmire this week mooted a diminished role for the 35-year-old, but also said he will still play a part in Sydney’s premiership push once he regains some form and fitness.
Longmire said he was “more than happy to play him sub again” against GWS, but the dual Brownlow medallist decided to line up in the Swans’ curtain-raiser against the University of Western Sydney Giants in the NEAFL.
Shaw admitted Goodes’ self-styled axing was “bloody surprising”.
“Goodesy’s one of the greatest players ever, and I look up to him so much,” he said.
“The way he sets the standard off the field and on the field as a Swans legend and AFL legend, it’s hard to see him playing in the twos.
“I feel a bit embarrassed that I’m not playing twos and he’s not in the seniors.
“But Goodesy’s a champion. He’ll deal with it the way he wants to deal with it, and I know he’s going to play a great game on the weekend and put his hand straight back up for next week.”