The West

Draft hope gives it his best shot after injury
Mason Shaw

Mason Shaw is the first to admit he did not meet expectations this year.

Looking back, it was not for a lack of effort.

Touted as a possible top-10 draft pick pre-season, Shaw was sidelined for eight weeks after breaking a cheekbone in South Fremantle's final practice match.

He missed the AFL Academy's European tour, lost confidence and felt confused.

But Shaw knew full-forwards had to kick straight, so he to took 50 shots at goal every day for the rest of the season.

The result was 40.11 for South Fremantle's colts team and 10.4 for WA at a conversion rate of 76.9 per cent.

Of the AFL key forwards who kicked at least 40 goals in 2012, the Kangaroos' Drew Petrie led the way with 76.3 per cent accuracy.

"Playing forward, you've got to be pretty reliable with your goals," Shaw said. "At some point, you may only get three shots for the game.

"If you can kick three goals it really helps the team. Some people helped me to feel comfortable with a routine but 95 per cent of the work comes down to yourself, so you have to go out and practise every day.

"Before training or before work I'd go out and have 50 shots a day from all angles."

Shaw stunned himself by kicking 8.4 in his first match back but found it much tougher after that.

A second knock to the face left him with nerve damage and dented his confidence. He then played in different positions before settling back at full-forward.

"I had such a good pre-season, was feeling really good, had played some senior footy and didn't feel out of place there," Shaw said.

"For it (the injury) to come suddenly and take a major chunk out of my season was a real eye-opener.

"It was my first major injury and I felt like I was playing catch-up with my fitness. Coming back, there was so much pressure to perform.

"I was over-thinking everything when going for the ball instead of just getting the ball and then thinking.

"After I got over that, my form was good. I think it was good for my development to get that injury so I understand what it does to you as a player and a person."

The West Australian

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