Shaw’s determination rewarded with NZ recall

EXPERIENCED CAMPAIGNER: Brad Shaw has played 150 times for New Zealand.
EXPERIENCED CAMPAIGNER: Brad Shaw has played 150 times for New Zealand.

Brad Shaw might be the freshest athlete at the Commonwealth Games.

The Christchurch hockey player was so desperate to keep his Black Sticks dream alive that he got used to five hours sleep a night and turned his life into a juggling act of family, work, coaching, playing and training.

The train, sleep, play life of the Games might seem like a comparative relaxing break for the 31-year-old.

Shaw's non-stop lifestyle was all made worthwhile yesterday when he was recalled to the New Zealand men's team for this month's Commonwealth Games, nearly two years since he played the last of his 150 tests.

A father to four-year-old Jordae and 18-month-old Marnia, Shaw's busy lifestyle includes as much family time as possible, a teaching job at St Andrew's College, coaching the school's first XI girl's team as well as helping out with five other sides, training with the Canterbury men's team, training and playing for club side Selwyn as well as early morning and late night fitness sessions.

''I'm pretty much go, go, go from about 6am until 10pm and sometimes midnight,'' he said.

''I've got pretty used to five hours sleep a night and I don't really have a lunch break or anything. But that's my choice, I want to play for New Zealand again.''

Shaw's recall is a major boost for the side eas he adds a physical presence and strong tackling ability to an already strong defensive line.

''He's experienced and tough to get around,'' coach Colin Batch said.

''Hopefully, that inspires others a bit too.''

Shaw's commitments at home had trumped his hockey so the Black Sticks' final game at the 2012 Olympics was Shaw's last.

This year he has worked hard to prove he can balance his busy life and still be as good as he can be for the national side.

''You always feel like you could do a little bit more, but I've worked hard, I'm fit and hopefully I can make a real impact,'' he said.

''There would be nothing worse than going to a tournament like this and not being at your best.

''But I'm excited, too. I feel like I'm debuting again. There's lots to pick up and to learn about the systems. I can't wait.''

Shaw isn't the only new face in the 16-strong squad despite it dropping from the 18 players who finished seventh at last month's World Cup.

Northland midfielder Shay Neal comes into the squad after a hip injury.

Jared Panchia, Stephen Jenness, Kane Russell and goalkeeper Hamish McGregor were all left out.

With more than 200 caps between them, it would appear a big chunk of experience to leave at home, but Batch's 16 boast 2406 international caps, an average of more than 150.

Russell was used as Andy Hayward's backup at penalty corner time, but has been left out to make room for Shaw.

Batch remained confident his side had enough ammunition and options for short corners.

''Andy is really developing into a top penalty corner taker and we still have Nick Haig and Shea McAleese,'' he said.

The New Zealand team will play warmup fixtures against Wales and India before their first pool game against Canada on July 25.

New Zealand: Dean Couzins (c), Nick Haig, Andy Hayward, Simon Child, Blair Hilton, Brad Shaw, Marcus Child, Phil Burrows, Alex Shaw, Devon Manchester, Blair Tarrant, Shay Neal, Arun Panchia, Shea McAleese, Hugo Inglis, Steve Edwards.

The Press