Luke Shuey is undoubtedly a rising star of the AFL and Eagles supporters will be over the moon after he signed a two-year contract extension.
The 22-year-old midfielder still had a year to run on his current contract and the new deal will see the Victorian staying in the west until the end of the 2015 season.
Shuey’s commitment is a big coup for the Eagles as they push for a fourth premiership in the next few years. He is an integral cog of the growing West Coast midfield with his ability to run, carry and break the lines.
West Coast’s midfield has plenty of young talent with the likes of Scott Selwood, who is also the reigning club champion, Chris Masten, Andrew Gaff and Shuey. Add to that the likes of new recruits Jamie Cripps and Sharrod Wellingham, the ever reliable Matt Priddis and premiership stars Daniel Kerr and Andrew Embley and West Coast looks set for a serious tilt at the flag in the next few seasons.
If the Eagles are to be contenders in the next few seasons, Shuey will be a key. His ability to break tackles and run the lines, as well as push forward and kick goals, is something the Eagles have lacked since the days of Chris Judd and Ben Cousins.
Shuey’s commitment to West Coast is a big plus for fans who may have been worried the young gun may return home to Victoria. It also says a lot about his desire to repay the faith the club has shown in him after injury ruined his first couple of seasons on the list.
He really made his mark in 2011 when he finished runner-up to Essendon’s Dyson Heppell in the NAB Rising Star award. Shuey played every game in 2011 and was a consistent performer all season but was criticised for his struggles against Collingwood in the Qualifying Final. An improved performance in the Semi Final against Carlton and the Preliminary Final against Geelong showed Shuey has what it takes to be a big game player for the Eagles.
Shuey’s 2012 was a step up with the midfielder averaging 23 disposals a game across his 21 games. His impressive season was marred by indiscipline leading to suspension, as well as accusations of ducking into tackles to earn high tackle free kicks.
To fulfil his huge potential, the 18th pick from the 2008 National Draft will need to curb his aggression as well as learn to overcome the tags that are sure to come his way in 2013. Shuey is not one to shy away from challenges though, having overcome great adversity just to play AFL football. After his early injury troubles, as well as the tragic death of his sister, many doubted if Shuey would be able to succeed in the AFL.
A lesser man would have given up on his football dream and returned home, but Shuey has shown great strength and courage to come this far. Eagles fans will be hoping that Shuey continues to grow and develop as a footballer and be a part of a surge towards premiership glory. Staying in the west for another couple of years is a start.