If you ask the North Melbourne players to describe interim coach Rhyce Shaw, there’s a common theme around his relationship building.
Despite having only arrived at Arden Street at the end of 2018, Shaw has made an immediate impact.
“Shawry’s been awesome since he’s come to North,” Shaun Atley told North Media.
“He’s formed really strong relationships with the players quite quickly, and the boys have got full trust in him.”
Shaw coached the past four years at the Sydney Swans, where he won back-to-back Assistant Coach of the Year awards in 2017 and 2018.
An honest defender as a player, the Roos’ playing group see those same traits in him as a coach.
“He sees the game really well and he’s very switched on,” Atley said.
“He’s not afraid to challenge people as well.
“I think that’s his best trait; he challenges the players but wants to help them achieve those challenges as well.”
“He’s super honest, but he builds on your personal relationship first,” Jasper Pittard added.
“I think that’s really important because that’s how you get the best response out of your players.
“He worked hard to get to know each and everyone of us first, then was really honest with where we’re at and what they need to work on.
“He embraces our strengths and wants us to play to them.”
A Swans’ premiership player in 2012, Shaw initially put a real emphasis on developing close bonds with his defenders.
“I’ve found him unbelievable,” Pittard added.
“Coming to a new a club at the same time as Rhyce, he made it such an easy transition.
“We both leant on each other at the start having not known everyone.
“After Brad (Scott), he was the first guy to text me and said that he can’t wait to have me in here, which gave me real confidence to get to where I’m at, when I didn’t have much confidence at the time.
“On a personal level, he’s helped me so much and I’m really enjoying my footy, and from a team point of view, us backs can’t speak highly enough of him.”
The challenge for Shaw in recent days has been to develop those same bonds with the entire list.
While it may seem like a big task, it’s one that the interim coach has handled well.
“Over the past few days he’s had meetings with every player individually to try and get to know them better,” Atley said.
“He wants to know what they’re like as a person and what they want to get out of their footy careers.”
“He’s fresh out of the game as well,” Pittard added.
“So he still sees himself as one of the boys, but in a really professional way.
“He loves getting involved and being in the thick of it.”