Captain Luke Shuey is set to miss out on the remaining league fixtures after suffering a double hamstring injury against the Bombers on Tuesday night.
In the midst of the Eagle’s current fixture cram, the last thing the West Coast needed right now was an injury scare from one of their key players.
The Eagles look to play the Bulldogs this Sunday, with another game against St. Kilda following just four days after. Both will be tough games with the Doggies and the Saints going after a win to stake their own finals claims.
But in what has been a frustrating week for Eagles fans, with the AFL neglecting Western Australia, announcing that this year’s grand final will be hosted at the Gabba, it adds even more salt to the wound that they will now be without their captain Luke Shuey for the remainder of the season.
Following some baffling management decisions during Tuesday night’s win over Essendon night, Shuey was allowed to return to the field after suffering a hamstring injury, even after his recent hamstring woes, leaving many of us, including Fox Sports commentators wondering, what was going on!?
Why was Luke Shuey allowed to return to the Field??!
Shuey left the field just before the end of the 3rd. It was reported that he had a tight hamstring and Adam Simpson said he was checked over by the Eagles medicos and was advised that “he’s had a bit of a feel in one of his hamstrings, he can’t feel it on the testing, he’s running at 28 km/hr, he can kick the ball no worries, let’s use him if we really need him.”
We saw Shuey warming up on the touchline at the start of the fourth, looking comfortable on his feet, and later returned to the field, only to chase down a catch and pull up short. He then hobbled off the pitch looking dejected.
And after Shuey suffered a hamstring injury earlier on in the season in the Eagles win over the Swans in round 5, it’s a bit of a baffling decision for the West Coast coaching staff to allow their midfield talisman to return to the field.
Even in making the decision, the Eagles medicos knew that it would be likely Shuey would at least miss the game against the Bulldogs, but West Coast’s Director of Football Craig Vozzo has since reported that this is likely to be a 14-21 day recovery.
“Given our fixtures and Luke’s previous hamstring problems it’s probably leaning more towards the 21-day mark which takes him out for the rest of the minor rounds but gives us enough time to get fully ready for, hopefully, finals footy assuming we qualify.”Eagles Director of Football, Craig Vozzo.
Vozzo confirmed Shuey had undergone scans and was nursing low-grade strains on both legs. But despite the blow for the Eagles, there is a silver lining that Shuey should, hopefully, only be out for 21 days. Plus it’s now been confirmed that there will be a bye week after round 18 before the first leg of this year’s finals fixtures, giving Shuey slightly more time to recover in time for this year’s finals.
But with some big games coming up, and an Eagles side looking to bag a place in the Qualifying finals positions the decision to bring Shuey back on the pitch, although with hindsight in mind, wasn’t the greatest choice.
Obviously players, whether injured or concussed, will do anything to play on. But that’s where coaches and medical staff need to look at the bigger picture and take matters into their own hands. Even though the Bombers did make a resurgence in the third term, the Eagles were comfortably 21 points up at three-quarter time, and there was really no need to bring Shuey back into the game.
Brad Hardie spoke on 6PR about the decision, stating that Shuey’s injury will be a big set back for the Eagles as “when Luke Shuey fires, everyone in that West Coast team fires” and called the decision to send him out in the fourth a “massive ineptness from the Eagles staff” particularly with Shuey’s recent hamstring issues, you’d have thought the docs would have been a bit more cautious to rest him.
But Adam Simpson acknowledged the mistake, stating “in the end, I need to own that one” and in an interview on Friday, he stated, “in hindsight, we shouldn’t have played him. We should have backed in who we had and unfortunately, we’re now dealing with two little hamstrings rather than one.”
Simmo’s selection dilemmas.
Simpson might need to get creative with his team selection in the run-up to Sunday’s game.
The first issue being who will replace Captain Shuey’s vacant midfield position. But with immediate first choice Elliot Yeo still on the sidelines with a groin injury, it looks like Simpson will have to look to youngster Hamish Brayshaw, or Jarrod Brander to fill in.
Plus marking man Jeremy McGovern is still a big question mark for the game on Sunday after the defender suffered an ankle injury at the start of the game against the Bombers.
The Eagles will await a late fitness test to see if McGovern will start, but Simpson stated he still has an “oversupply of defenders” with in form Liam Duggan and Jackson Nelson who showed their superiority under the high ball last week alongsideTom Cole, who superbly juggled a mark to notch his first AFL Career goal.
Plus with 30-year old Nic Naitanui taking a couple of lengthy breathers on Tuesday night, its likely that Simmo could rest him again on Sudnday, bringing in Tom Hickey to share the ruck duties with Bailey Williams, who also got his first AFL career goal last year.
But good news! Eagles all-time top goalkicker Josh Kennedy will return to the side after recovering from a nasty concussion suffered after Noah Balta’s knee collided with his head in the game against the Tigers last week.
Kennedy, will most likely spearhead the Eagles forwards line on Sunday, and will face up to a brutish Doggies defence seeing the return of talented youngster Aaron Naughton, who is likely to make his 50th appearance for the Doggie’s this weekend against the Eagles.