185. Jamie Shanahan

Player Inductee

Hobart/St Kilda/Melbourne/Sandringham, Full Back, 1984-2000 185. Jamie Shanahan

125 games for St Kilda 1991-97
37 games for Melbourne 1998-99
111 games for Hobart 1984-85, 1987-90
16 games for Sandringham (VFL) 2000
Kilda Ansett Cup Pre-Season premiership 1996
Hobart TFL Statewide League premiership 1990
Sandringham VFL premiership 2000
Hobart Best and Fairest 1989
Three State of Origin matches for Tasmania 1989-93
Three State of Origin matches for ‘The Allies’ 1995-97
Ainslie coach (AFL Canberra) 2001-02
Hobart ‘Greatest Team 1947-2002’ (Full Back)
Sandringham Assistant Coach 2003-05

 

A solid, non-nonsense full back whose strength one-on-one was his greatest attribute, Jamie Shanahan developed into one of the best defenders in the AFL in the 1990’s, consistently holding his own against the legendary Full Forwards of the period.

Born in 1967, Jamie Shanahan made his senior debut with Hobart in 1984 aged 16. By 1986 the teenager’s ability had attracted VFL interest and Shanahan signed a ‘Form Four’ with Fitzroy, playing 17 U19’s and reserves games that year before returning to Hobart in 1987. Over the next four seasons Shanahan transformed himself into one of the most promising young defenders in the state, claiming Hobart’s Best and Fairest award in 1989 and playing in the Tigers’ Statewide premiership the following season. This again caught the mainland’s attention, and aged 22 Shanahan was selected with lowly Pick 92 by St. Kilda in the 1990 National Draft.

After spending all of 1991 in the reserves, Shanahan made his senior debut for St. Kilda in Round 3, 1992 and proceeded to play the next 44 consecutive games, swiftly becoming the Saints’ first choice Full Back. Solidly built at 194cms and over 100kgs, Shanahan had the size to physically match the great goalkickers that dominated AFL football in the 1990’s such as Dunstall and Saverio Rocca. Further solid seasons in 1995-96 improved his standing even further, including being a member of the Saint’s triumphant 1996 Ansett Cup premiership team – the first silverware the club had claimed since the 1966 premiership. His form also meant that he was a regular State of Origin representative, firstly with Tasmania and later as part of the combined ‘Allies’ teams.

1997 was undoubtedly Shanahan’s best season, playing all 25 games as the Saints claimed their first minor premiership since 1965, and as they had in ‘65 the Saints played off in the Grand Final. Unfortunately, as was also in the case in 1965, the Saints were the vanquished on the day, and after having been comprehensively beaten by Adelaide goalsneak Darren Jarman after half time, Shanahan was one of the Saints who was – probably unfairly – singled out for blame. While many fans directed their rage at Shanahan himself, many more despaired at coach Stan Alves’ failure to recognise that Jarman’s strengths of pace and elusiveness were Shanahan’s weaknesses, and that a change really should have been made. The Grand Final turned out to be Shanahan’s last at Moorabbin – after seeking a two-year contract from the Saints he was offered only one, and as a result he joined Melbourne for the 1998 season. Shanahan played well in the strong Demons team that made it to the preliminary final in 1998, however 1999 was a disaster for both player and club, as Shanahan played just 15 games in a year when the Demons plummeted to 14th place. After missing the opening 16 weeks of the 2000 season with a badly injured hamstring he returned to football with Sandringham (now Melbourne’s VFL affiliate) and was a member of the Zebras’ premiership team that year. He retired at the end of that season after 162 AFL games; remarkably, he did not kick a single goal in his entire eight-season career, a record that has him fourth on the list of most games without a goal.

After retirement, Shanahan spent two seasons as coach of Ainslie in the AFL Canberra competition before returning to Victoria, since which time he has had a number of coaching roles in the VFL and Victorian amateur football, including one senior appearance in the VAFA for St. Bede’s/Mentone in 2012 aged 44.