Jade Sheedy is going for his second premiership as Eagles coach this week.

Jade Sheedy is going for his second premiership as Eagles coach this week. (Image: Woodville-West Torrens)

Reigning SANFL premiership coach Jade Sheedy gets the opportunity this week to make history for the Eagles.

Reigning SANFL premiership mentor Jade Sheedy gets the opportunity this week to make history for the Eagles, but insists the push for continued success rests firmly on the shoulders of his playing group.

Woodville-West Torrens has the chance on Sunday against Glenelg to be the first team from Woodville Oval to go back-to-back, following the club’s 39-point triumph in last year’s decider over North Adelaide. 

And while Sheedy is the man who keeps them in line and tells them what to do, he himself has no issues handing the due credit over to his “pretty driven” group.

“We run a really strong leadership program and I think our players had got to the grand final a few times and hadn’t got over the line and now that they’ve tasted it, they just want more of it,” Sheedy told the Inner Sanctum

“We like to pride ourselves on being the hardest working team, doing the biggest pre-season and making sure we’re the fittest team and all the little things like that.

“I helped guide it, but I think the players and the leaders at our footy club really wanted to have some sustained success over a long period of time.”

The 41-year-old doesn’t read to much into the chance of back-to-back history being made either, as both just “tie into each other”.

“I think you just want to win flags,” he said. 

“There are ten teams trying to do it, and it’s a hard thing to do, so to do it every year, odds say it doesn’t happen very often.

“We haven’t talked about going back to back inside our footy club, but I think the players know that’s what it looks like if we win again and that history for our football club would be created.”

Jade Sheedy chats with Eagles captain Luke Thompson during pre-season training. (Image: SANFL)

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Sheedy came to the club at the beginning of 2020 after a successful coaching stint at Adelaide Footy League club Athelstone, where he delivered the club’s first A-grade flag in 23 years.

The native Victorian – hailing from Mildura in the state’s north-west – played a glistening 255-game career for Sturt, including a premiership and a Magarey Medal in 2002 as well as four club champion awards.

He’s enjoyed his time at the helm of the Eagles so far, and has fond memories of last year’s title decider.

“I think it’s better as a coach because you get to enjoy everyone’s success,” Sheedy said.

“And you do as a player as well, but I think as a player you’re focused on your role and what you can do for the team.

“When you actually win one as a coach you see the excitement the players, the supporters, the management, the volunteers get out of it all at once.

“It’s just a really good feeling to have played a small part in making all those people happy.” 

This year has been just as good, with the Eagles losing just five games in the minor rounds, and finishing the season with a barnstorming 104-point win over ninth placed Central District to go into the finals series with incredible confidence.

But they haven’t had it all their own way across the year. A tilt at the flag was always going to be taken just one week at a time.

“We haven’t focused on the big picture,” Sheedy said.

“We had our struggles early, we were 3-3 after six rounds, we weren’t defending as we wanted to as a club so we made sure we got that right and we ended up being the number one defensive team in the competition.

“The players all bought in and we’ve won the last 12 out of 14 games, so we feel our form is as strong as anyone in the competition.”

To top it off, it was announced last week that Sheedy had signed on as coach at the Eagles until 2025.

Keep up to date with the 2021 SANFL grand final week right here, as The Inner Sanctum has every angle covered. Tomorrow: Eagles’ captain Luke Thompson on grand final number five and Glenelg coach Brett Hand tells of leading the pack in 2021.

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