Despite walking out on Greater Western Sydney with a year to go on his contract, Mark Williams says he has nothing but admiration for Kevin Sheedy.
Mark Williams, the man who walked away from the final year of his contract at Greater Western Sydney, has led the tributes for Kevin Sheedy ahead of the AFL icon's last game in charge at his adopted home.
GWS mentor Sheedy has two games remaining in his 29th season as an AFL/VFL head coach, and Sunday's clash with Richmond at Skoda Stadium will serve as his Sydney swansong.
The Giants have posted a series of videos on their website, in which a range of Sheedy's former players and AFL figures pay their respects to the four-time premiership coach.
The words of Richmond development coach Williams, who called for a statue of Sheedy to be built outside the MCG, are among the most poignant.
Williams was Sheedy's senior assistant coach and natural successor at the Giants, but informed the club at the end of their final game of last season that he wanted out.
There had been strong speculation of a falling out with Sheedy, and that Williams was frustrated the 65-year-old wanted to keeping coaching in 2013.
But in a genuine pre-match message of thanks and admiration, Williams showed just why Sheedy is so highly esteemed in AFL circles.
"I was an assistant coach to him (at Essendon, GWS, and Australia's International Rules side) and he gave you great opportunity," Williams said.
"You didn't just move the cones. He gave you that opportunity to develop and really work with people, which was great.
"...He's always looking for the next big thing that might develop, not just his team, but the whole AFL.
"I'm a big advocate for the fact he should have a statue built at the MCG already .. certainly football owes a lot to Kevin."
Most of the interest on Sunday will surround GWS star Jeremy Cameron's pursuit of the Coleman medal and Richmond's percentage, as they look to shore up a home elimination final for the club's first finals campaign in 12 years.
Sheedy, who won three premierships in a 251-game playing career with Richmond, has handed a debut to forward Kristian Jaksch.
As has been Sheedy's wont, Jaksch will come up against the team he supported as a child.
"It's going to be a bit weird playing my first game against them ... and it being Sheeds' last game (in Sydney) adds a great deal to it," Jaksch told the club website.