“It was draining. I just didn’t realise he went through so much,” Sheedy said.
“He’s a wonderful person.”
Sheedy called on non-Indigenous Australians to consider the arguments of those who don’t see Australia Day as a day that should be celebrated.
“Whilst celebrating Australia day in January can you consider what had happened to our people in the atrocities before Australia day?” Sheedy said.
He said many people were still learning about this country and its history describing Goodes as “a remarkable player for his family, his people.”
“It’s very sad what happened in those latter years (of his career) because all of his play has been sensational,” Sheedy said.
In his book, the four-time premiership coach profiles 21 players and coaches he considers icons and sits down to interview nine of the subjects including his former premiership captain James Hird.
Sheedy described Hird as the best player he coached and pledged to help him as he continues to find his feet after the Essendon drugs scandal that ended his coaching career.
“I want to make sure I am there to encourage him to work through it and still love the game as much as we all have,” Sheedy said.
Sheedy was in typically formidable style at the launch, suggesting that the Giants would bounce back from their 89-point grand final loss to Richmond, describing the fledgling club as a baby club.
“As far as I am concerned the baby giant fell out of the cot and hurt itself,” Sheedy said.
He said they should be admired for making the grand final when they were probably the fifth best club in the AFL reserving his sledge for his favourite punching bag Collingwood.
“Many people would say Collingwood gifted Richmond a premiership and I think that is right,” Sheedy said.
But he said Tigers’ champion Dustin Martin was only halfway towards matching the achievements of five-time premiership tiger and official AFL Legend Kevin Bartlett.
“If you don’t like Dusty Martin, you are kidding yourself … and he has probably only done half of what Kevin Bartlett has done so he still has to catch Bartlett yet in my mind as a great player because he is a freak,” Sheedy said.
“But he is on the way. He commands you to watch him. When the ball goes near Dusty I go ‘wow’.”
Sheedy was also unable to resist stepping outside his portfolio to pass comment on tennis players Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic, suggesting the maligned pair could benefit from watching Australia’s world No.1 Ash Barty.
“Surely Kyrgios and Tomic can learn something from that young woman,” Sheedy said.
Peter Ryan is a sports reporter with The Age covering AFL, horse racing and other sports.