By Grant Hitzman
Morningside co-captain, Paul Shelton, has claimed the Round 5 Syd Guildford trophy nomination, after a midfield masterclass guided the Panthers to a 68-point win over Wilston Grange.
The 29-year old displayed his wealth of experience on Saturday, calmly dictating the pace of play and barking orders all around the ground to dismantle the Gorillas and solidify Morningside’s place as the QAFL’s top dog.
No stranger to the highest honours as a former Syd Guildford trophy winner, Shelton has enjoyed an outstanding start to 2014 and is relishing a key mentoring role at the Panthers.
“I’m really enjoying mentoring our young blokes this season. It is something I have always done, but this year I am taking more responsibility for the younger blokes to get better and keep their standards up.”
Morningside coach, David Lake, sung the praises of Shelton, highlighting the veteran’s consistency and huge contribution to the club.
“Paul is a consummate professional and has had a cracking start to the year, I maybe don’t give him enough credit because it is what I expect of him,” Lake said.
“But he is so important to our club, I love him. He leads by example, he’s a teacher and a taskmaster who has a passion for football.
“I couldn’t ask for a better captain, he has an extremely good understanding of the game and is happy to pass on the knowledge he has learnt, he is invaluable.”
The man nicknamed “Nugget” spent time as a rookie at Brisbane and Hawthorn, as well as three years in the VFL before returning to his home state five years ago, which he says was an easy call.
“Morningside is my home and it will be like that forever, so there was really no choice where I’d go when I came back to Queensland,” Shelton said.
“It has been an interesting ride the second time around, and seeing the changes that have happened, but it’s something I’ve enjoyed – seeing the club go from bottom to top.
“One thing that hasn’t changed is the standards at Morningside still remain incredibly high, and we will be ready when the competition inevitably changes again and we come up against clubs like Southport.”
Shelton hinted that his career may be winding down in the near future, but he remained unsure about where he will be in future years.
“I think I will just have to see how this year goes and then maybe speak to my wife,” Shelton said.
While Shelton may be unsure of his future in footy, Lake is hoping to see the club stalwart transition into coaching.
“I’d love to see Nugget coach, I think he would be fantastic, he has such a good understanding of the game,” Lake said
“I just hope he doesn’t have too many things going on in his life so he can coach, otherwise everyone misses out.
Morningside will take on sixth placed Mt Gravatt this weekend, looking to extend their perfect record to 6-0.