From underage star to elite AFL midfielder. (Photo: AFL Photos)

Sunday morning Auskick. It's where many first discover their love for the game.

That was no different for 200-gamer Dylan Shiel.

A round one double-century of AFL games was forged during his junior years. It was clear Shiel was a star from an early age.

Making his way through Caulfield Grammar School and at TAC cup level for the Dandenong Stingrays, Shiel always dreamt of the opportunity to play on the biggest stage.

The dream became a reality when he caught the attention of recruiters and was pre-selected for the inaugural GWS team in 2011.

Shiel initially wanted to stay in Victoria, not eager on the thought of living his dream away from the footy-centric universe that encompasses Melbourne.

However, some sound advice from his dad that would put things into perspective.

“(My dad said) you’re going to play your dream of football an hour (flight) away from Melbourne. Many years ago, kids the same age were going across the world to fight in the war. So, you’ll be fine,” Shiel told Essendon FC's Amart Milestone Chats.


With that advice in mind, Shiel went to the Western Suburbs of Sydney with this perspective, embracing the challenges and being rewarded with an amazing experience playing for a new club.

Shiel quickly developed into being one of the best midfielders in the competition, earning All-Australian honours in 2017.

He would also earn the opportunity to play in two big finals campaigns in 2016 and 2017, where GWS made the preliminary final in both, being knocked out by the Western Bulldogs and Richmond respectively during their fairy-tale stories.

Dylan Shiel in the 2017 preliminary final. (Photo: AFL Photos)

After seven years at the Giants, Shiel needed change and sought a move back to Melbourne.

The trade period heading into the 2019 season was highly publicised surrounding the trade of Shiel, with several clubs interested in acquiring the star midfielder.

After naturally heavy deliberation, Shiel committed with Essendon and signed on.

Reflecting on that hectic period of his life, Shiel says the choice was obvious when settling to decide.

“Essendon felt like the place to be. I could see myself playing a long-term career here,” he said.


With a focus on team success during his first season in the red and black, Shiel was recognised as one of the clubs best after placing runner up in the Crichton Medal, demonstrating his reliable presence in the midfield.

Experiencing unsuccessful finals appearances in both 2019 and 2021, Shiel's determined to bring the excitement of finals success to the club.

“It is a really resilient football club here and it would be nice for the supporters and everyone a part of the Essendon community to experience that sooner rather than later,” he said.

“From afar, it looks like a special thing to be a part of when you look at clubs that have done it before.”

After 135 games with the Giants and 64 with the Bombers, the effort and determination Shiel has put into his career has led to achieving an incredible milestone this weekend, celebrating his 200th game.

“I am super grateful to get there, and I feel I have a lot more footy left which is exciting," Shiel said.

"I certainly will celebrate with my teammates, friends, and family who have been on the journey with me. Hopefully, there’s more to come."