Shiel was concussed in a controversial bump with Trent Cotchin during the Giants’ preliminary final clash against Richmond last year and played no part in the second half as the Tigers marched towards a drought-breaking flag.
The finish to last year’s season is not Shiel’s sole motivation to reach the summit, but that’s not to say it doesn’t add fuel to the fire for the orange and charcoal outfit.
“I’m just looking to be the best player I can be and hopefully in the best team in the competition,” Shiel said.
“I just want to play my role and ultimately we want to achieve team success, that’s what everyone’s goals are at the Giants.
“We don’t brush [the finish to 2017] off but it’s not the sole motivator for the season coming up. It obviously plays a part in us wanting to go to the next step.
“We certainly didn’t brush it off, we reviewed it and addressed it like any other game. We’re really keen to improve this season.
“There’s a lot of things going on and we can’t really rely on one game to be the reason [we want to improve].”
The Giants never really found their groove during a frustrating 2017 campaign – which is quite remarkable considering they fell just one game short of a grand final.
Shiel says it is imperative the Giants hit the ground running this year as they look to turn consecutive preliminary finals appearances into a maiden decider.
They will do so by rolling out “a pretty strong squad” against Collingwood in Canberra this week in their first genuine hit-out of the pre-season after a power outage brought an early end to a practice game with Sydney.
One player that won’t be on hand for the Giants is promising midfielder Will Setterfield, who will miss the 2018 season after he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in the Swans clash at Henson Park last Friday.
Setterfield played two games last season after being scooped up with pick five in the 2016 AFL draft but his second campaign was dashed before it could begin.
Shiel says it was an “incredibly disappointing” blow for the club and reached out to Setterfield later that night as the 20-year-old came to terms with the injury.
“He had a really good pre-season and to see someone go down at this time of the year with the first opportunity in an opposition game, there is not much else you can say,” Shiel said.
“It’s pretty hard for someone to describe how they feel for a couple of days after an injury like that. It’s obviously really difficult, he’s going to need plenty of support around him as he does here at the Giants.
“We’ve got guys that can step up. We’ve got a really strong core of players and we’ve got some really good young players that we’ve drafted to this club. It just gives an opportunity for guys to step up and take an opportunity.
“It’s been tough but that’s a part of football.”
AFL PRE-SEASON GAME
Thursday: GWS Giants v Collingwood Magpies at Manuka Oval, 7.10pm. Tickets available from Ticketek.
Caden Helmers is a sports reporter for The Canberra Times
Morning & Afternoon Newsletter