Shuey the best choice for the Eagles
Former West Coast captain Steve Malaxos has endorsed the club’s decision to continue with Luke Shuey in the captaincy role.
The Eagles announced on Tuesday that the 32 year old had been confirmed by the board for a fourth year in the job after a player vote with feedback from the coaching staff.
Malaxos said Shuey was still the club’s best option.
“He has had injuries, there’s no doubt about that. He took a step forward last year in terms of availability and he’s obviously more confident this year,” Malaxos told Sports Breakfast.
“Who else? Jeremy McGovern’s been the vice captain and he’s had his share of injuries as well, so perhaps if he had been rock solid body wise, they might have had to weigh it up more, and then they’ve promoted Tom Barrass, he was touted as being a possible chance of a captain.
“Really, on balance, I think Luke is the best choice.”
The 2018 Norm Smith Medalist has struggled with soft tissue injuries in recent years, playing 17 games last season after featuring just 7 times in 2021, but Malaxos said the role encompassed more than just game day.
“To be the best captain you can be, you need to be on the field, albeit … there’s a lot more to captaincy than just on-field leadership, certainly the captains do a lot more these days than we ever did when they’re not on field,” he said.
“It’s probably shifted a little bit, you can raise an argument that you don’t have to play every game to be of total value.”
Malaxos was famously dropped from the Eagles side while captain during the 1990 finals series and never played another AFL game, but returned to the club in a mentoring role two years ago after a coaching career at AFL, state league, and PSA level.
The 61 year old, who played 66 times for the Eagles, is confident in an improvement this year after a horror 2022 marred by COVID and injury issues.
“A lot of their better players are in the older bracket, so they would be really hoping and planning those guys are fully fit and available. Nic Naitanui’s still the best ruckman in the club, that is an example,” he said.
“I think ideally, they obviously win a lot more games, but within the team there are some younger players playing well, not just getting games but actually playing well, and one or two become an absolute gun.”
The Eagles’ preseason practice games have been locked in, meeting Port Adelaide in an unofficial match simulation at Mineral Resources Park on February 24th before taking on Adelaide at the same venue in their official practice game on March 3rd.