Shane Shackleton jumps ship

Newest recruit: Shane Shackleton, pictured celebrating a try with his former Eels teammates last year, is looking to reignite his career with the Panthers. Picture: Quentin JonesSHANE Shackleton is no longer a villain waking up every morning in the direct line of fire.
Nanjing Night Net

As a Parramatta Eel living at Kemps Creek, life wasn’t always filled with high fives and pats on the back from the local residents.

But his enemy status is likely to fade away after he was granted a mid-season release on Friday and signed with the Panthers for the remainder of 2012.

“I don’t have to worry about getting heckled for playing for another team now,” Shackleton said with a laugh.

“I’m in my own territory and I’m really excited.”

Avoiding the wrath from Panthers fans isn’t the main reason Shackleton is elated at becoming one of the mountain men.

Despite being an experienced first grader — he made his debut in 2005 — he’s spent the vast majority of the 2012 representing Eels’ feeder club the Wentworthville Magpies in the NSW Cup.

“I want to be in the top grade — that’s why I play footy,” Shackleton said.

“But I’m not complacent and expecting to walk straight into the team.

“I’ve still got to put my head down and work hard and do what I’ve been doing this year for them to show interest.”

What Shackleton has done to attract interest is impressive.

He’s leading the Player of the Year award for the NSW Cup but, as he learned in March, not all interest is good.

A little too much of it was shown about a comment he made on Facebook, in which he used an expletive to describe Eels coach Stephen Kearney.

“To be honest, it was probably a slip-up,” Shackleton said.

“It wasn’t how I felt, it was just a conversation between me and a relative and I’ve spoken to Steve since — and directly after — and we still get on like a house on fire.”

Asked if it was difficult for players under contract to voice their true thoughts, Shackleton said: “it’s about being professional.”

He agreed it was hard being exiled from the first grade action.

“All year I’ve felt 1000 times better than last year and not being able to show that on the big stage has been disappointing,” he said.

“That’s why I’m so excited to get out there, prove myself and do everything I can to benefit the team.”

Shackleton said he met with Panthers coach Ivan Cleary a few weeks ago to discuss joining the club mid-season but nothing happened straight away. “So it was still a little surprising when everything fell into place,” he said.

Now officially a Panther, the 29-year-old prop and second-rower is committed to helping the side avoid the wooden spoon.

In doing so, there’s a strong chance he may deliver the dreaded utensil to his former club.

“There’s always a chance to turn things around,” he said. “It’s just a matter of getting everyone on board.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.