If Adam Simpson had to choose, it would be Luke Shuey.
So the West Coast coach was quietly confident when Shuey kicked at goal to save the Eagles’ AFL season.
“If you had to give anyone the ball after the siren, it would be him,” Simpson said.
“I was pretty confident but it’s a fair pressure kick, isn’t it … no doubt, the biggest of his career.”
Shuey who had been paid a free-kick for a high tackle, had the ball, 40 metres out from goal, when the siren sounded against Port Adelaide in Saturday night’s extraordinary elimination final.
The siren signalled the end of the second period of extra-time.
And the Eagles were four points down.
Shuey gave a quick, wry smile, took a deep breath, and then kicked himself into footy folklore – he converted and the Eagles pinched a win which Simpson said would “go down in history”.
“He’s a good kick,” Simpson said of the match-winner.
“He’s our vice-captain. He’s pretty composed with the ball and he has kicked some clutch goals before in big games – and he has got a perfect routine.”
Simpson described the two-point win as “a massive step forward for us as a club and for what we’re trying to achieve”.
“I couldn’t be prouder,” he said.
“We have been working hard on and off the track on situations or moments in games where we need to stand up.
“We are not where we want to be yet. But we took a pretty big step.”
Simpson’s Eagles only snuck into the finals by 0.5 percentage points breaking Melbourne hearts along the way, with their last goal in the last match of the home-and-away season.
And now they have snuck into the semi-finals with the last kick of the elimination final.
“The last two games we have played have been pretty special,” Simpson said.
But he said the Eagles have little choice but to rapidly turn their focus to Saturday night’s semi-final against Greater Western Sydney.
“It’s important to celebrate wins this like, but our feet will hit the ground pretty quickly,” he said.