Short and sharp AFL suits GWS veteran Shaw

GWS defender Heath Shaw enjoyed the shortened AFL game in round one of the 2020 campaign.
GWS defender Heath Shaw enjoyed the shortened AFL game in round one of the 2020 campaign.

GWS stalwart Heath Shaw has backed the concept of shorter AFL games after his first experience with the abbreviated format.

The league resorted to reducing quarters to 16 minutes and playing fewer games as it sought to squeeze in a season, with the looming threat of a shutdown amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"It sort of helps out a guy who is 34-years-old, shorter quarters and a shorter season, so to be honest I'm all for that," Shaw told AAP.

"Shorter quarters is something that we'll look into and hopefully that stays around.

"I really enjoyed the shortness of the game the other day and minimal contact which is always good."

Training in isolation is something Shaw is more used to than the majority of the AFL playing fraternity and he has benefited from the advice of older brother Rhyce - a 2012 Sydney premiership player and current North Melbourne coach.

"I haven't come back to training before January the last three pre-seasons, so I've done a lot of training on my own over that November/December period; I'm pretty experienced at isolation training," he said

"But I've learnt off my brother, the older you get just do something every day to keep the body moving.

"Because when you stop and don't do anything for a little bit it's harder to get back up to that level."

Shaw has amassed 309 senior appearances, the fourth highest of any active player, and is close to eclipsing the family record of 313 set by his uncle and 1990 Collingwood premiership captain Tony Shaw.

"Once footy gets taken away from you, you think about this sort of stuff and it's a little bit 'did I play my last game in front of nobody in round one of the 2020 season' and 'am I going to get to Tony's record'," he said

"But I think I should be right.

"There's five to go and I can go past his record and then have bragging rights forever."

Shaw has yet to rule out playing on next year.

GWS began this year in hot form smashing Sydney and shading Richmond in pre-season games before humbling Geelong in round one.

"It's a bit disappointing we can't keep chugging along, but no doubt the boys will be doing what they need to do over this time so that we can come back and pick up where we left off," Shaw said.

Australian Associated Press