would make zero difference even if you were able to connect them "directly". it wouldn't be a case of just connecting them together with a cable either, you'd need to give each device a manual IP address.
if the laptop can't wake it up in the current configuration then it won't wake it up in the method you proposed (even after all the manual configuration required to have both devices see each other).
Hmm, oddly I disconnected the Ethernet connection, used WiFi and then shut down the Shield. Checked about 15 ins later and its drives were still accessible to my laptop. Reconnected the Ethernet again and put the shield into sleep mode and again the Shields drives are still available to my laptop. The only thing was that the shields controller batteries seemed dead (which looks to be an issue with it), replaced them and all looks to be just fine Now.