As Swans Life-member and all round legend MJ couldn’t attended the Funeral Service to Nick Shiells he wrote this touching tribute as a final farewell to his mate.
Nicholas Shiells never did things by halves – He was always full intensity at whatever he was doing.
Nicko and I shared a common background in that we both played for Hawthorn Citizens in Melbourne, albeit a decade apart. The Citz had probably the smallest ground in Australia, which meant we were usually in a pack rather than running out wide. His desire to get the ball out of the middle of a pack sometimes resulted in him being pinged for holding the ball as he attempted to shrug off 3 or 4 opponents, resulting in a mixture of groans, sighs and grins from watching team-mates, but it also resulted in some great breakaway moments where he popped free like a champagne cork and had a shot at goal!
When he decided to start his own company, Nicko was known to put in days of work, seemingly without sleep, and then spend a couple of days catching up on sleep – no half measures!
As if that wasn’t enough for one person to handle, he also stuck up his hand for the HCMC Presidency of the Swans, ran a marketing campaign that made sure everyone knew what he would stand for and stepped into the size umpteen boots vacated by Sam Conroy and before that, Derrin Limbrick.
Unable to play on the 2014 ANZAC Friendship Weekend as a result of recent knee surgery, Nicko volunteered to coach the All Stars team in the Magoos against the Legends prior to the main Friendship Match. When I sent him the team lists, his reply of “OK, awesome. I’m happy with that – Game On MJ” led me to realise I hadn’t adequately rigged the teams in my favour.
As Nicko triumphantly held aloft the coveted Commonwealth Bank trophy, his beaming face framed the victory speech of “It’s great to be able to inflict MJ’s first coaching loss”: No half measures – Full steam ahead!
Nicko, I’d gladly let you hand me another defeat, but you’d have to earn it again. You always played with great spirit and lived life to the full.