Man behind the Eagles' engine room

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Man behind the Eagles' engine room

Post by zest on Mon Apr 26, 2010 8:39 am

Man behind the Eagles' engine room



Luke Powell

SPORT 21-4- 10 EAGLES Eagles Luke Powell in the MASK PIC RAY TITUS Picture: Titus Ray Source: The Advertiser

IT'S hard to work out how Luke Powell, after 130 games, a best-and-fairest and currently averaging 29 touches a game manages to keep a low profile.

He is one of the competition's elite midfielders, yet his name is rarely mentioned alongside guys like Jade Sheedy, James Allan, Ben Kane, Paul Thomas and James Ezard.

He wasn't asked to wear body paint and stand in front of a camera for the season launch, and you will rarely see him on the front of the Footy Budget, in the papers or on TV.

But that's fine by Powell.

``I think I'm a bit reserved but that's the way I want it to be,'' he said.

``And because we've had such a good side over the years with the McKenzies, the Cicolellas and the Colvilles for me it's a benefit that there has been no focus on me.''

Somehow, the softly-spoken yet hard-as nails midfielder flies under the radar of some footy fans and the media.

But opposition coaches certainly know who he is. When Michael Godden took over as coach of the Eagles last year, Powell's name was one of the first he circled as crucial to taking the club forward.

``I knew he was a very good inside player and very good at stoppages,'' Godden said.

``And I knew he was very important to this football club.

``He's not a guy who seeks the limelight, he just likes to get down and dirty and get the job done.''

To say Powell is ``important'' to the Eagles is an understatement.

It's no coincidence the Eagles are 3-0 and on top of the ladder and Powell is averaging 29 possessions and five tackles per game.

After a disastrous 2009 which was ravaged by injury, Powell's form is back to its brilliant best the type that landed him the best-and-fairest award with skipper Mark McKenzie in 2008.

The 29-year-old grew up in the Victorian coastal town of Portarlington, 20 minutes outside of Geelong and not far from Anglesea where a couple of other knockabout lads named Chris and James Gowans were running around.

``I would have been 16 when I played against them and I remember them all right,'' Powell said.

``Nothing has changed. They still had a bit of cheek about them and were in a good side when they were coming through.

``We often talk about when we're going to head back but I don't know when.''

Powell played TAC Cup with the Geelong Falcons alongside Jonathan Brown and Cameron Ling but was overlooked in the draft and joined Geelong's VFL side.

He played 40 games in two years but missed the 2002 grand final when the Cats were knocked out of the AFL finals and sent eight players including Gary Ablett and Jimmy Bartel, back to the twos.

``I knew my place and in the end that was one of the reasons I decided to come over here (SA),'' he said.

He was courted by the Eagles by accident in late 2001 when then Eagles coach Ron Fuller saw him at Kardinia Park.

``I think they were looking at someone else and I must have just caught their eye,'' he said.

Whatever Powell did that day, it worked, because three weeks later the Eagles flew him to Adelaide, only for him to decide to stay in Geelong for 2002.

But a year later the Eagles were still keen, Powell had been dropped for the VFL grand final and decided it was time for a change.

His first season was solid, alongside fellow recruits Leigh Treeby, Mark Passador and Tim Inkster, but he found his second year the hardest. Injuries had crept in and he missed the 2004 grand final, but said 2005 was the turning point.

``I realised I wasn't going to get anywhere without more hard work,'' he said.

It was also a turning point for the club with Woodville-West Torrens finally knocking off Central District to win the 2006 premiership.

``You tried not to think about it too much but realistically we'd lost four grand finals to Centrals who we were playing again so it was big.

``The week after was the greatest week of my life.''

Powell won the best-and-fairest in 2008 but 2009 was ruined by groin, shoulder and ankle injuries which sidelined him for 14 weeks.

Along with some of the other `older' players, Godden eased Powell back a tad during pre-season and it's starting to show.

``I almost had a `year of footy and it has probably showed with the way I've been able to play footy. I feel a lot fresher,'' he said.

``And the benefit is I'm running out games a lot better.''

FIVE THINGS YOU MAY NOT HAVE KNOWN ABOUT LUKE POWELL - ACCORDING TO HIS TEAMMATES:

1. Is a part-owner of a two-year-old filly by Dehere, which he hopes will run on Magic Millions Day this year.

2. Was born on January 7 and has always worn No.7 on his footy jumper.

3. Is marrying his fiance, Lisa Britza, in October.

4. Is a bricklayer by trade and manages state coach Darel Hart's business.

5. Won three straight senior flags as an opening bowler for Portarlington Cricket Club.
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Re: Man behind the Eagles' engine room

Post by zest on Mon Apr 26, 2010 8:39 am

Interesting to read about why he came to the eagles
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Re: Man behind the Eagles' engine room

Post by Flash on Tue Apr 27, 2010 3:13 pm

There is a lot to like about this humble footballer who consistently plays well without much fanfare.
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