This former football star may have made it to the big leagues with Collingwood and GWS, but SAS Australia is a whole other ball game for Heath Shaw as a 2021 recruit.
Hailing from AFL dynasty family the Shaws, Heath was drafted to the game under the father-son rule in 2003, joining the ranks of Collingwood legends, while following in the footsteps of his father and former Magpies captain Ray Shaw, brother Rhyce Shaw and titan uncle Tony Shaw, who captained the club to their drought-breaking premiership win in 1990.
The 35-year-old made his AFL debut two years later in 2005, quickly establishing himself as a permanent member of the Collingwood side and went on to prove himself as a key player in the Magpies’ 2010 premiership win.
In 2008, Heath was suspended for lying to the club about his involvement in a drink-driving accident which saw him sit out the season from round 18 onwards. He returned to the field in round two of the 2009 season and claimed his position as a vital component of the team’s ‘back six’ moving forward, with the exception of an eight-week ban from the game in late 2011 when he faced yet another suspension for illegal betting. He had paid $10 to a friend to bet on fellow teammate Nick Maxwell to be the first goalscorer in an upcoming game.
After his relationship with former coach Nathan Buckley soured, Heath was traded to the GWS Giants at the conclusion of the 2013 season in a move that originally angered the elite player.
“I was definitely pushed out [of Collingwood] and I didn’t really want to go,” he said on Fox Footy’s On The Mark in 2018. “Didn’t see myself ever leaving Collingwood but it was the best thing I ever did.”
Heath was an integral part in moving the Giants up the AFL ladder, so much so that the team landed themselves in the 2019 Grand Final against Richmond. That same year, he became one of a handful of players to achieve the rare feat of playing his 300th AFL game, taking the field against Port Adelaide.
The star defender ultimately retired from the game at the end of the 2020 season after 325 AFL matches, and broke the Shaw family record which was previously held by his uncle Tony with 313 games under his belt.
After leaving the elite ranks, Heath signed on to play for Victorian club East Keilor for the 2021 Essendon District Football League season.
After leaving the AFL, Heath and Collingwood teammate Dale Thomas began hosting The Heater and Daisy Show on 7Plus, where they give viewers an unfiltered view of the sport’s biggest stories
Like many athletes before him, the Victorian-born footballer has ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder), which he was diagnosed with when he was in year eight after he struggled with concentrating in class and an incident that saw him set his shoe and a carpet alight.
In an interview with ABC News, Heath revealed that he believes his ADHD has been a positive attribute in his career as a pro athlete, thanks to disorder’s inclination to heighten interests and passions.
“I have ADHD and I like playing football. I like the competitive nature, I like the challenges throughout that sport. When I have that mindset about something, I go a hundred miles an hour,” he told the publication.
He also has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), which sometimes hinders the player with a “desire to be in control”, according to The Age.
You can catch Heath tackle the SAS Australia 2021 Special Forces challenges on Channel 7 and 7Plus.
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