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West Coast Eagles

Shuey in awe of two-time club champ

Elliot Yeo is the AFL's No.1 ranked tackler - West Coast Eagles,Richmond
Elliot Yeo is the AFL's No.1 ranked tackler

West Coast star Luke Shuey says teammate Elliot Yeo deserves to be "in the conversation" as the AFL's best player.

Respected analyst Garry Lyon caused a stir when he rated Yeo No.1, highlighting his ability to shut down big-name opponents and stand up in match-winning moments.

Shuey agreed Yeo should be in that mix, after seeing his impact steadying the Eagles' premiership defence from a shaky 3-3 start to 15-5.

Yeo started slowly coming off pre-season toe surgery but the dual club champion lifted his tackling (AFL No.1) and physicality when West Coast needed to get on a roll.

"I think he deserves to be up there in the same conversation as some of the talked about big dogs in the competition," Shuey told AFL.com.au

"He's so big and versatile. What he does that a lot of guys can't do is his defensive game. He's arguably the best in the competition (at that).

"He brings that to our team and we all just try to keep up with 'Yeoy' pretty much. He's having a sensational year."

After keeping midfield bulls Nat Fyfe and Patrick Cripps in check recently, Yeo could target Richmond superstar Dustin Martin in a mouthwatering subplot to Sunday's blockbuster.

"When you think of Dustin Martin and Elliot Yeo, it's a pretty good match-up," Shuey said with a grin.

"I don't know if we'd send (Yeo) forward with him, we'd probably want to keep him around the ball.

"We've got 'Hutch' (Mark Hutchings) back now, so if we need to send him to Dusty we can.

"As we've learnt over the last few years, if you put all your eggs into one basket against a good team another player pops up and does some damage.

"It will be a good test for our midfield." 

Richmond has already ruled out skipper Trent Cotchin (hamstring) and will have its own headaches containing the Eagles' engine room.

West Coast hopes to regain marquee ruckman Nic Naitanui (ankle) for finals but has coped without him for most of 2019, largely due to Yeo and Shuey's one-two punch and a strong supporting cast.

Shuey leads the team for clearances, and the Norm Smith medallist boasts a top gear few can match.

When Adelaide threatened last Sunday at Optus Stadium, Shuey collected 10 disposals, eight contested possessions and won five clearances in the final term alone.

After holding off the Crows by 10 points, the Eagles' top two ambitions remain in their hands.

But now red-hot Richmond, gunning for eight consecutive wins, stands in their way.

"It's a good test coming into finals and it's a good test to see where we're at for later in the year as well," Shuey said.

"We've only played them twice in two years. It's exciting. 

"They seem to be back playing their best footy, and I know people have said that about us, but they've found a way to win games and seemed to slide under the radar a little bit and are sitting just outside the top two.

"We've just got to try to keep winning games and everything else is going to fall into place if we do that."