Shaun Burgoyne - inspirational footballer, leader of his people, devoted family man - is one of the most respected players in AFL history, on and off the field.
The man they call 'Silk' was the ultimate team player - versatile, highly skilled and hard at the contest, with an enviable reputation for being able to stand up in big moments.
Burgoyne is a proud Indigenous man, with a football pedigree that is a story in itself. Starting with his father's time at the Koonibba Roosters, the oldest surviving Indigenous footy club in Australia, the Burgoyne name is directly linked to Gavin Wanganeen, Eddie Betts, Graham Johncock and many other AFL stars. In his 400-plus games, Burgoyne had only two coaches. He reveals the tough love dished out by Port Adelaide coach Mark 'Choco' Williams, and the left-field techniques of legendary Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson. He shares how he changed from star midfielder to role player, a move that enabled him to overcome injuries and become one of the best impact players the game has seen.
Burgoyne's story isn't just about winning four premierships and becoming the Indigenous games record holder. He experienced the ugliness of racist taunts, from growing up in Port Lincoln to bearing witness to the fallout of Adam Goodes' public stance on racism. The way Burgoyne sees it, we can't change history but we must learn from it, and work towards reconciliation, to a position of mutual respect and understanding. This modest champion shares what he has learnt to show others what is possible when you seize opportunities, are willing to put in the work and surround yourself with the right people - family, friends, teammates, mentors - who will inspire, support and guide you every step of the way.
Buy Silk: Football, Family, Respect by Shaun Burgoyne from Australia's Online Independent Bookstore, BooksDirect.