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Sheed adds new dimension to inside game

Rhys Dickinson  May 17, 2017 11:45 AM

Sheed post-match v Dogs Midfielder Dom Sheed speaks with AFL.com.au following his side's Friday night thriller against the Bulldogs
AFL 2017 Round 08 - West Coast v Western Bulldogs

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - MAY 12: Dom Sheed of the Eagles in action during the 2017 AFL round 08 match between the West Coast Eagles and the Western Bulldogs at Domain Stadium on May 12, 2017 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Media)

West Coast midfielder Dom Sheed credits a strong pre-season for his recent uptick in form.  

In spite of beginning the year in the WAFL and being omitted from the Eagles’ starting line-up following its tight round two win over St Kilda, the 22-year-old forced his way back into the club’s best 22 in round five and has produced some of his finst football in Eagles colours the past four weeks.

Since reclaiming his position in the side, Sheed has averaged 21 possessions against some of the game’s most aggressive teams – Hawthorn, Fremantle, Port Adelaide and the Western Bulldogs.

Sheed's preparation for this year’s campaign has been very different to 2016's lead-up, in which he underwent off-season knee surgery and suffered a severe pectoral tear during his comeback match for East Perth.

“I got in a full pre-season this year, so I was obviously full of confidence coming into this year,” he told ABC Perth earlier this week.

“It was a bit of a slow start, which was disappointing, but I’m still just trying to build that consistency in my game.

“It definitely takes time to get that run back into the legs. I feel like I’m moving around the ground better and the GPS is saying that as well, which is pleasing. Hopefully I keep that up throughout the year.”

Sheed has also benefitted from being let off the chain this year.

The typecast inside midfielder has been pushing forward of the centre square in a bid to aid West Coast’s heavily guarded goal kickers.

Thus far he has only managed to kick three goals – two of which came against the Bulldogs on Friday night – but Sheed believes pushing forward will fast track his development.

“I’m fitting into a rotation with Pridda (Matt Priddis),” he said.

“He likes to spend a bit of time on ball as well, but being able to add another string to your bow is important in today’s game. You see a lot of players being able to go mid-forward or mid-back, so I’m trying to work on my forward line stuff and have an impact up forward like the rest of our midfielders that go up there.”