A Player's Perspective: Shayne Hille

Thursday, April 30, 2020 - 12:56 PM by Katie de Haer

Having been a witness to East Perth's unsuccessful 2013 and 2014 premiership campaigns, 23-year-old Shayne Hille is determined to make his mark as the team prepares to climb the WAFL ladder in a new decade.

Back then, Hille was a Colts player. Now, as an established senior player, he wants to forge his own destiny with his teammates.

Having played 72 games since his debut in 2015, Hille is one of East Perth’s more experienced players. Only Nathan Blee (128), Kyle Anderson (124), Patrick McGinnity (107) and Rohan Kerr (97) have played more WAFL league matches.

“I’ve spent pretty much most of my latter life playing at East Perth; from the development squad, to colts and now seniors.

“It (football) has certainly provided me with a really good routine and structure in life but also it’s helped me to grow as a person and learn valuable life-long lessons as well.

“That’s one thing that East Perth really drives at the football club; it’s not just all about footy, it’s about trying to improve and become better people in the community and helping out others. 

“Having had that guidance from a lot of players and coaches over the years has played a big part.”

One of those guiding players in Hille’s early career was former captain Craig Wulff. Wulff’s career spanned 15 seasons and 286 games. He is the club games record holder, however it was an elusive premiership that was the missing piece in Wulff’s career.

“I remember being in the Colts around the 2013-2014 period and it was certainly a very exciting time around the football club," Hille recalls.

“I was lucky enough to play with guys like Craig Wulff, Paul Johnson and Brendan Lee. You could see how much it meant to them at that time (to play in a grand final), and, how much it would have meant for them to be able to finish off their careers at East Perth as premiership players. 

“Especially Wulffy, he speaks about it a lot, how he wishes he could have done that during his time.”

With the WAFL season postponed until at least May 31, Hille suggests that players could use Wulff’s story as a source of motivation going forward. 

“If we can continue to push through and better ourselves in this time away it will hopefully give us an advantage when the season resumes and it will be what drives us going forward.

"That life-long bond that you form with your teammates and the club, it’s pretty special.

“It (2013 and 2014) was an exciting time, obviously Subiaco and West Perth got on top of us but it’d be nice to get a couple back. 

"We’re coming up to the 20 year anniversary since the 2000, 2001, 2002 premiership years – it’d be nice to have a dynasty like that in the future.”

The playing group has been preparing for the season away from the club since March 15, and Hille said the time away had provided a chance to reflect.

“We’re trying to do our best to play our role in the community,” he said.

“The more things have dragged on, we understand where we sit in a way. We’re just taking it a day at a time, not trying to look too far ahead, because that’s where I think you can get caught up a bit – trying to predict when something like this is going to end. 

“As players, we’re taking it day by day, keeping in contact with each other and our coaches and trying to keep the morale high. 

“It’s a different time but at the moment it’s a new way of life, we have to accept it for what it is, do the best we can and look after each other.”

Hille works as a physiotherapist in a clinic in North Perth and says the work and life stability have been important.

“I’m fortunate enough to still be working full time. It’s provided me with a bit of structure and routine in regards to life in general which I’m really grateful for.” 

With details of the 2020 WAFL season to be decided in the coming weeks, Hille says he is hoping to be able to draw on his own experience so that he can help his younger teammates develop.

“Now that I’m a little bit more settled, I’d like to pass on some of that experience to help the team try to push towards getting back to finals and from there chase that ultimate dream of a premiership.

“I’d also like to try to build on the foundations that I’ve set over the past few years and try to enjoy my footy a bit more as well with that.”

Hille said that the support of East Perth’s members, sponsors and supporters has not gone unnoticed during the challenging period. 

“If you are struggling, talk to someone, and if you know someone who is struggling, reach out and help each other through this tough period. It’s a change in lifestyle for everyone and it does take some time to get used to. 

“Although we can’t get out on the park at the moment, we are looking forward to the 2020 season. Hopefully we can get some games played. I know how much the club means to our fans. To be able to represent the football club from that perspective is a fair honour.”