Luke Shuey’s perfect kick sends the Power home and the Eagles onwards

Jay Croucher Columnist

By Jay Croucher, Jay Croucher is a Roar Expert

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53 Have your say

    Two seasons coming down to one ball drop, one connection, one cool head, is either cruel or magical depending on your allegiance.

    » Five talking points Port Adelaide vs West Coast
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    For those whose allegiance is only to the game, the moment was as perfect as the kick. Luke Shuey won the free kick – which wasn’t a free kick, but in real time didn’t it have to be paid? – and lined up. He chuckled to himself before going into his run-up, a brief and lovely acknowledgement of the absurd gravity of the moment – a year of hard work for two clubs was going to come down to how his boot struck the leather.

    The smile disappeared and then it was business. He looked a touch frightened, because he is a human, but fear always looked like it was losing to determination. He began his run-up, body arched and compact as always, and moved towards the entire Port Adelaide team on the mark.

    The ball drop was perfect, the connection was perfect, and so was the result. It was all so simple – an easy run-up, body weight behind the ball, the kick struck with conviction.

    So often the most intense moments come down to players being able to find and hold onto simplicity and quiet amid the chaos and the noise. Shuey did that, and the kick was never in doubt, and then neither, for the first time all night, was the result.

    It did appear to be heading towards ‘over’, though, a few times. When the Eagles went 31 points up in the second quarter, it seemed like Port had finally revealed themselves to be the pretenders many had pegged them as for much of the year. But the flat track bullies navigated an uphill path, and gradually wrestled back momentum.

    When Port finally took the lead back in the final term, the Eagles looked to be shot. They were gallant, but Port were too relentless, too fast and youthful, with too much quick-twitch athleticism all over the ground for the more lumbering West Coast bodies to handle.

    Charlie Dixon Port Adelaide Power AFL 2017

    (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

    But the Eagles did something that had eluded them for much of the year – they dug deep in a fourth quarter, they grinded, and they eked out just enough scores to keep the game close.

    Eric Mackenzie, pursued by Charlie Dixon (the best player on the ground), kept the Eagles alive with one of the great finals plays, making a beeline for the behind post to keep the scores level in the dying stages. He wore the damage, saved his team, and gave them the hope of extra time.

    The hope appeared to be crushed when Ollie Wines finished off Port’s most magnificent sequence of the night in the first half of extra time. Travis Boak won the ball, dished it to Chad Wingard who lofted it to Robbie Gray as he fell over, and then Gray, while being collected by Sam Mitchell, delivered the handball of the evening, jumping up at full extension and bulleting a no-look over-the-shoulder dart to Wines, who duly finished with a powerful strike from a standing start.

    The lead was then 13 points with only seconds left in extra time’s first half.

    From the restart, though, Lewis Jetta, dominant once regulation expired, won the clearance and drove the Eagles forward for Josh Kennedy – absent until the final stages – to toe-poke a desperate goal which kept the Eagles breathing.

    Kennedy popped up for another in the second period after some grunt work and class from Nathan Vardy, and then the moment was set for Shuey.

    Port will have the whole summer and likely many summers beyond to lament their missed opportunities. Dixon, while exquisite in announcing himself as a true force in the competition, will long have to ponder ‘3.6’. Wingard too, brilliant all season and for much of the night, would surely like a few of his kicks back at the death.

    So too might Mark LeCras and Andrew Gaff, but thanks to Shuey, the regret will remain with their opponents.

    Jay Croucher
    Jay Croucher

    From MSG in New York to the MCG in Melbourne, Jay has spent his adult life travelling the world, indulging in sport and approaching it from the angle of history and pop culture. Follow him on Twitter @CroucherJD

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    The Crowd Says (53)

    • September 11th 2017 @ 6:38am
      Slane said | September 11th 2017 @ 6:38am | ! Report

      For all the talk about Shuey’s moment and how the game was decided by a controversial free kick I think we let Charlie Dixon off a bit too easily. He was so dominant that he could have almost single-handedly put Port 3 or 4 goals ahead. Bad kicking is bad footy.

      • September 11th 2017 @ 11:06am
        Bob said | September 11th 2017 @ 11:06am | ! Report

        I often wonder with all the intense running in games now, if tired legs affects set shots especially late in games…didn’t appear to bother Shuey however.

    • September 11th 2017 @ 6:51am
      Mattician6x6 said | September 11th 2017 @ 6:51am | ! Report

      Great right up Jay, have watched the full game back twice now and all I can say is it is one of the great finals I’ve ever watched played at an intensity that had been sadly missing in the other 3 matches preceding.
      Yes shuey drew the free but when 1st to the ball that is what can fall your way, defend more desperately and the outcome is different.

      • Roar Guru

        September 11th 2017 @ 8:26am
        gameofmarks said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:26am | ! Report

        What a hypocr……

        I think you owe Anon an apology mate!

        • September 11th 2017 @ 8:47am
          Mattician6x6 said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:47am | ! Report

          GoM in what way am I a hypocrite? Shuey was 1st to ball,created the play and drew the free I’ve said that consistently but that fact eludes you.
          As for anon its sweet you’re going all true blue and the like but its of little concern of yours.
          If you are a west coast fan (which I have no reason to not believe you) you’re one of the ones who screamed sack Simpson or cried loudly Petrie was a stupid pick up and now it looks your negative view is misguided you’re just crying ninny ninny noooo naaa.

          • Roar Guru

            September 11th 2017 @ 6:31pm
            gameofmarks said | September 11th 2017 @ 6:31pm | ! Report

            Yesterday you posted this about Anon and his posts that it wasn’t a free kick:

            “God I left this site for a few weeks. Return and surprise anon still spewing useless diatribe.”

            Now it seems you agree with Jay that it actually wasn’t a free kick. That’s what I call hypocritical!!!!

            I have never said that Petrie was a stupid pick up. I have called Simpsons coaching into question, as you have I think from memory, and I think I called for him to be sacked so the WCE could pick up Sumich before someone else grabs him next year. Looks like Sumich will end up at Gold Coast and we will be left with Simpsons plain vanilla game plan.

            • September 11th 2017 @ 6:48pm
              Mattician6x6 said | September 11th 2017 @ 6:48pm | ! Report

              Just to reiterate anon spews useless diatribe and i will happily say that with no need to cut and paste OK true blue now take your bat and ball continue to write appallingly bad opinion pieces and don’t let the door slam your but on way out OK true blue.
              And if suma is your grand plan then god help us all.

            • September 11th 2017 @ 6:55pm
              Mattician6x6 said | September 11th 2017 @ 6:55pm | ! Report

              Did I agree with jay, saying its a good write up isn’t agreeing just stating I enjoyed the piece

        • September 11th 2017 @ 8:48am
          664 the neighbour of the beast said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:48am | ! Report

          Great right up? Ok then!

          • September 11th 2017 @ 8:53am
            Mattician6x6 said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:53am | ! Report

            Sorry predictive on phone mate and as this is not a PhD or a legally binding document I failed to proof read. Now that you’ve tried to belittle me let’s go sunshine.

    • September 11th 2017 @ 8:10am
      Ashley said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:10am | ! Report

      “Wasn’t a free kick”. Shuey almost had his head pulled off and the onus iś on the tackler! Like Slane said, port lost because of bad kicking.

    • September 11th 2017 @ 9:14am
      allan jones said | September 11th 2017 @ 9:14am | ! Report

      If it happened any other time in the game a FREE kick would have been paid and we would not be talking about it now !!!

    • September 11th 2017 @ 11:13am
      Jack said | September 11th 2017 @ 11:13am | ! Report

      I think everyones moved on except the headline-milking media, some self-professed experts in Vic, and a bunch of sore can a guy running forward throw himself by the neck backwards over his opponents leg? I think if that was staged then he deserves the goal for great acting chops! the make-up dept should also get a gong for the red mark left on his neck…

      • September 11th 2017 @ 11:35am
        Lroy said | September 11th 2017 @ 11:35am | ! Report

        His head snapped back faster than JFK’s…. 😉

    • Roar Pro

      September 11th 2017 @ 2:07pm
      anon said | September 11th 2017 @ 2:07pm | ! Report

      The vision is clear.

      Schuey induced the high contact by lifting his arm/shoulder. Without the lifting of his arm/shoulder, then the tackle is legal.

      We have replays in slow-motion from multiple angles showing that Schuey induced the contact, yet people still claim the umpire was correct.

      Amazing. Tells you a lot about human nature.

      In my opinion it tainted the match. A classic match is not decided on a phantom free kick. Not one for the archives.

      Also, it was a great match, but it didn’t feel like a great finals match to me because neither team were any chance of winning the premiership. It kind of felt like a round 23 match between two sides out of contention for the finals. The quality of the football certainly felt that way.

      The other three matches on the weekend had meaning and narratives despite the blow out results because it involved teams that are a realistic chances of playing the Grand Final.

      Not so this match.

      • Roar Guru

        September 11th 2017 @ 2:29pm
        AdelaideDocker said | September 11th 2017 @ 2:29pm | ! Report

        Umpiring rant notwithstanding, of course it’s you who’d complain that the match “didn’t feel like a great finals match”.

        Not even surprised at this point.

        • Roar Pro

          September 11th 2017 @ 2:39pm
          anon said | September 11th 2017 @ 2:39pm | ! Report

          If you support either team I’m sure it meant a lot, but for me it didn’t matter who won because neither team are going to challenge for the premiership.

          It’s a bit like Gold Coast and Carlton have a close round 23 match. I’m sure the fans loved it, but has no real bearing on the premiership so I don’t get care.

          • September 11th 2017 @ 6:37pm
            Luke said | September 11th 2017 @ 6:37pm | ! Report

            Hate to break it to you ANON but the game isn’t played in slow motion, nor is it umpired in slow motion. If Shuey (not hard to spell his name correctly) was as good at deflecting body tackles in 1/4 of a second as you are suggesting, he should be lining up against Connor McGregor for the next MMA world title. Shuey isn’t required to render himself motionless when being tackled. AFL says Shuey didn’t significantly contribute to the tackle going high so the Pollec is at fault. And for someone who didn’t think the match mattered too much you certainly are making a lot of noise about it.

            • September 11th 2017 @ 7:30pm
              Luke said | September 11th 2017 @ 7:30pm | ! Report

              And yes, I see my typo. Ha

          • September 11th 2017 @ 8:29pm
            Ken said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:29pm | ! Report

            No, it’s nothing like Gold Coast and Carlton having a close round 23 match. It’s a final.

      • September 11th 2017 @ 2:44pm
        truetigerfan said | September 11th 2017 @ 2:44pm | ! Report

        Have to agree anon. You summed it up well as “like a round 23 match between two sides out of contention for the finals.” The quality of footy was dead set ordinary. 2 teams who can beat up the also rans but get nowhere near good sides. Both lucky to play finals if you ask me! Port’s incompetence and poor finishing made it an excitingly close contest at the end . . . nothing more!

        • September 11th 2017 @ 10:00pm
          Matto said | September 11th 2017 @ 10:00pm | ! Report

          Eagles have beaten sydney geelong ans adelaide this season. Nothing like port.

      • Roar Guru

        September 11th 2017 @ 3:09pm
        Paul D said | September 11th 2017 @ 3:09pm | ! Report

        You have no understanding of humanity that I have seen. You’ve never acknowledged the human factor in any of your posts – it’s always black and white and anyone who fails to make the correct decision without the benefit of hindsight is automatically a failure in your eyes.

        If you actually had the courage to admit more about yourself and what you have done in your life that you feel entitles you to sit on a platform and dispense advice/opinions/justice maybe you’d have more listeners, but you’re hiding behind a fake name, refuse to say which team you support, refuse to ever discuss the merits of on-field action – it’s just a perpetual tide of negative sludge from someone who has never played or watched a game in their life.

      • September 11th 2017 @ 4:41pm
        Mattician6x6 said | September 11th 2017 @ 4:41pm | ! Report

        Yes anon players often desperately throw themselves into point posts in round 23 to cause a throw in. Actually its become so prevalent the afl should nay must act to stop this kind of behavior.

      • September 11th 2017 @ 6:44pm
        Rick said | September 11th 2017 @ 6:44pm | ! Report

        Firstly anon, there is no “c” in Shuey, secondly it’s painfully obvious you’ve never played the game as your understanding of the processes is less than basic.

        You maintain Shuey induced high contact, well in the umpires opinion – and I must add that is the first line of the rule “in the umpires opinion” – Shuey did not induce the high contact.

        He obviously saw that Polec induced high contact, the point is largely down to physics – if you put pressure at the furthest point of a lever, in this case an arm, it is more difficult to raise that lever.

        Where Polec made the mistake was he put the pressure nearer the top of the lever, which meant pressure is limited and in this case Shuey could expand his arms to break the tackle.

        Now some history for you, years ago everyone was taught to pin the arms to trap the player with the ball, then players were taught to raise their arms when in danger of being tackled to avoid their arms being pinned and so release the ball.

        This in turn led to players tackling higher to pin their opponents arms to negate the ball release but with this method comes the risk of over the shoulder contact.

        Now in this scenario the umpire has correctly determined that the tackler has failed to execute his tackle legally and induced the high contact, not by the way as you so elegantly described somewhere else as Shuey slightly bending his knees!

      • September 11th 2017 @ 8:27pm
        Ken said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:27pm | ! Report

        he didn’t ‘induce the contact’ – pretty sure he was trying NOT to be tackled? It was a lazy, sloppy tackle which slipped high. Tackle the guy around the hips, since Polec is about 4 inches taller than Shuey the onus was on him.

        Free kick all day, every day, all year.

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