West Coast midfielder Luke Shuey says his team can’t afford to fret about Sam Mitchell even if the Hawthorn star gets off the leash in Saturday’s grand final at the MCG.
Mitchell looms as a potential match-winner, set to play a crucial role in the result with his ability to rack up big numbers and send the Hawks forward.
The 32-year-old tallied a total of 71 disposals and 19 clearances in his two hitouts this season against the Eagles.
West Coast have opted against using a hard tagger for much of the year, Shuey saying the Eagles will still be a good chance to win the grand final even if Mitchell dominates again.
“We can’t ignore the fact that he is playing amazing football at the moment and he has probably had the best finals campaign of anyone in the competition,” Shuey said of Mitchell.
“But he smashed us out here in the qualifying final and we were still able to win (by 32 points).
“So I don’t think we want to focus too much on Mitchell, because they’ve got an amazing midfield and an amazing team.
“If you focus on one player, then four or five of them will bob up with 30 (disposals) and a couple of goals.
“We saw that last year in the GF.”
Hawthorn are aiming to become the first team since Brisbane in 2003 to win a hat-trick of flags.
Their side is littered with premiership stars, but Shuey is adamant West Coast aren’t daunted by the challenge confronting them.
“We can’t be intimidated by their stars,” Shuey said.
“We’re respectful of the fact they’ve been an amazing team and don’t look like slowing down any time soon.
“But we’re not intimidated.”
If Hawthorn decide to give Will Langford a shut-down role, Shuey is the prime candidate to get stuck with the tag.
The 25-year-old is West Coast’s most-explosive stoppage player, making him a prime target for opposition sides.
In last week’s preliminary final win over North Melbourne, Shuey was restricted to just 11 disposals by Kangaroos tagger Ben Jacobs.
But Shuey’s two goals – including an explosive run-and-stunner from a stoppage late in the third term – proved vital in the final result.
If Shuey gets tagged again, he’s confident he can still make an impact.
“With guys like Dom Sheed, Mark Hutchings, Elliot Yeo and even Jamie Cripps, it gives us that extra depth now,” Shuey said.
“If I’m not getting a kick in the midfield, it gives me the ability to go forward and try to have an impact down there knowing these guys can go on-ball and get the job done.”