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West Coast Eagles

Eagles 'park' premiership talk to focus on improvement

Shuey press conference 05.12.18 The Norm Smith Medallsit talks to the Perth media following his first official week of pre-season training at the club

The squad has had its fun celebrating its premiership triumph, but now the Eagles are focused on taking their game to another level ahead of season 2019.

That was the overwhelming message from West Coast joint vice-captain Luke Shuey, who spoke to the media before his third official training session of the pre-season campaign at Subiaco Oval this morning.

If anyone should be afforded some extra time to reflect on their grand final performance, it would be Shuey, who claimed the 2018 Norm Smith Medal after amassing a remarkable 34 disposals, nine clearances, eight inside 50s and one goal against Collingwood on the game’s biggest stage.

But being the consummate professional he is, Shuey has “parked” all talk of the grand final to home in on the task at hand.

“You don’t want to fall into the trap of thinking about that stuff for too long otherwise before you know it round one is upon you and you haven’t put enough thought into the upcoming season,” Shuey said.

“You give yourself a few weeks … after the grand final to let it all sink in and think of yourself as a premiership player, which was nice. But before you know it we’re back out here in early December trying to get back there again. You can’t dwell on it too long.

“There are 17 other clubs out there who are back at it before you are trying to get there next year.”

Should thoughts of taking it easy creep into his mind, Shuey said he would draw inspiration from former teammate and 2014 Brownlow medallist Matt Priddis, who he said never took his foot off the pedal.

“I’m always working to get better and I’m sure every player around the country is the same,” Shuey said.

“You turn up hoping to improve every aspect of your game, work on your strengths and work on what you’re not so great at. I’m still in that frame of mind at 28.

“A guy who I looked up to for so long, Matty Priddis, he was doing that until he was 31 or 32; until he retired. That’s the mindset I’m in and hopefully I can keep improving until I’m finished as a player.”

According to Shuey, he is not the only one taking that attitude into this year’s summer slog.

He said the entire playing list was driven to improve knowing that they would be the ‘hunted’ next year.

Even the fledglings, those who climbed the game’s tallest peak in their formative years at the club, were hungry for more success, according to Shuey.

“I think the culture we’ve got at the club, and what we’ve shown over the last couple of years, no matter how we perform or what we achieve, we still turn up with the attitude of getting better,” he said.

“It was great to see the other day, all our young guys come back in good nick.

“Speaking to a few of the young boys, specifically guys like Liam (Ryan) and Dan Venables and guys who have already won a premiership at 19 or 20 years old, they understand how lucky they were to be in that position and they understand that’s not the way footy goes all the time.

“They’ve got a bit of perspective and know how hard they need to work to hopefully get back there one day.”