Will Shaw wasn’t ready to give up, when he missed out on being drafted at the end of 2019.

Invited to stay on with the Bendigo Pioneers for an extra year as a 19-year-old he went one step further and, with Year 12 out of the way, decided to move there from Deniliquin.

Shaw moved into a share house, started a building course and loved being so much closer to training, but just six weeks in the coronavirus lockdown began and he headed straight back home.

The teenager tells the story behind his unconventional path to the GIANTS in the latest episode of Becoming GIANT, presented by Bingo Industries.

As a 13-year-old Shaw spent some time in the GIANTS Academy, before moving to the Murray Bushrangers and being re-zoned to Bendigo, where he missed out on making the Pioneers' squad as a skinny bottom-ager but made the top-age side.

He thought he had no chance of being drafted after he moved back home but made the most of his time, finishing two TAFE courses and starting a building apprenticeship.

At the same time the GIANTS’ recruiting team was sifting back through all of his 2020 vision: while Shaw had not dominated a game for the Pioneers, playing in a number of different roles, it was clear what he had to work with: speed, agility, endurance, skill, footy smarts and competitiveness.

He joined the GIANTS as a pre-listed Category B rookie thanks to his NSW address, after he was again overlooked in the national draft.

“I thought that was it. I didn’t have any interest in the back end of the year (2019) and I was a skinny 19-year-old. They had a new crop of kids coming through and I didn’t get to show any more of what I had,” said Shaw.

His mind started to shift after a mid-year call from GIANTS national recruiting manager Adrian Caruso, looking to tee up a zoom interview.

“I was just expecting to go back home and maybe go to uni the year after or start an apprenticeship and just play local footy, country footy.

“Prior to the phone call I was working 7am-5pm, but if I got home and felt all right I’d go for a little run or something, try to get to the gym.

“After I got that call I didn’t even need motivating. I went home, got straight in my running gear, went for a run, went to the oval and had a kick.

“I wasn’t fatigued at all, I just loved every bit of it.”