He may only have himself to blame for it, but former Eels prop Shane Shackleton believes that the reason why he saw little first-grade for the club, was because of one Stephen Kearney.
Frustrated at playing for the Wentworthville Magpies, the Eels feeder NSW Cup team week after week, Shackleton sought a release from the club, and was granted one to join Penrith, in a mid-season transfer.
All the controversy started, when Shackleton posted ‘Steve Kearney is a f****r, on his Facebook account, when he was asked as to why he was not playing first-grade.
“It was a confusing situation for me because I didn’t know what more I could do to play first grade,” Shackleton said.
“I felt like an outcast because I wasn’t around the boys and wasn’t in the team. It was depressing. I wanted to be with my mates. The worst thing was that I was playing well.
“It didn’t seem to matter how well I played, I just couldn’t get back. I guess the Facebook thing was part of that. It was a sign of my frustration and a spur of the moment thing that came out of what I was going through.
“But it is something I regret and shouldn’t have said. Still now, even though I am here, I can say it was a mistake.”
Although the incident may have cost him first-grade at the Eels, Shackleton says that he and Kearney are still good mates, but he feels like he had a line put through his name, ‘never to play for the Eels again’, much earlier than that.
“Me and Steve are still mates but I am sure he wasn’t happy about it,” Shackleton said. “The most disappointing thing for me, and I said this to him when it happened, was that I gave people fuel to stir the club up.”
“I did think he had put a line through me.”