‘They are just manipulating this rule’: AFL commentator Matthew Pavlich slams Eagles decision to sub Luke Shuey

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Catherine HealeyThe West Australian
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Luke Shuey (left) was subbed out of the win over Adelaide.
Camera IconLuke Shuey (left) was subbed out of the win over Adelaide. Credit: Mark Brake/via AFL Photos

Football commentator Matthew Pavlich has hit out at the Eagles’ use of the medical sub for captain Luke Shuey, claiming the club is “manipulating” the rule.

Speaking on SEN on Monday morning, Pavlich questioned the legitimacy of Shuey’s need to be replaced in the big win over Adelaide.

“The coach has said he’s not that sore… it was precautionary (to sub Shuey out of the game),” he said.

“He hasn’t done his calf. He was walking around.

“He’s going to probably play this week and play back here at Optus Stadium.

“So why do we have the medi sub?”

The medical sub rule was hastily brought in just days out from round one as a measure to strengthen the AFL’s stance on concussion and player safety.

But how the medical sub is used — as it is not just for concussed players — has been a point of conflict for much of 2021.

“We knew this was going to happen,” Pavlich said.

“I get the concussion. We want to protect the head. We understand that’s sacrosanct and we want to make sure people play the game and if they are significantly injured/concussed there’s an opportunity for a coach/player to come back on.

“(But) they are just manipulating this rule and I don’t like it.”

Shuey has played just five games in 2021 as soft tissue injuries hamper his season.

Luke Shuey and Jeremy McGovern have both missed chunks of the AFL season with injury.
Camera IconLuke Shuey and Jeremy McGovern have both missed chunks of the AFL season with injury. Credit: Mark Brake/via AFL Photos

Speaking after the win over Adelaide, coach Adam Simpson admitted the club may have been “over-sensitive” to Shuey given his history.

“It could be nothing and we are holding out hope (of that),” he said.

“It is definitely minor but because of his history we didn’t want to take a risk.”

So far, West Coast has used its medical sub eight times in 17 games for Luke Shuey (twice), Shannon Hurn, Jeremy McGovern, Josh Kennedy, Tim Kelly, Brad Sheppard and Jack Redden.

Oh those players, just Kennedy was able to back up after being medically substituted from the game.

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