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Nicholas Naitanui
#9   West Coast Eagles
Age: 28yr    Games: 154     Born: May 4, 1990    
Height: 201cm     Weight: 110kg     Position: Ruck
Last Drafted: Round 1, Pick #2 2008 National Draft by West Coast Eagles
Supercoach Price: $471,000   Supercoach Profile
AFL Fantasy Price: $497,000   AFL Fantasy Profile
Contract Status: RFA at the end of 2019   AFL Player Contracts
 
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Nicholas Naitanui Biography

Wednesday, 16 May 2018
Nic Naitanui says he wants out-of-contract teammate and fellow ruckman Scott Lycett to stay at West Coast.

"I just told him there's not much back in Adelaide for him and to stay at West Coast," Naitanui said of the South Australian.

"He's playing good footy, he lives near the beach, he's loving it. He's out of contract at the end of this year, there's him and a host of some other big names as well, hopefully they stay around."

Wednesday, 9 May 2018
Nic Naitanui fails in his bid to overturn a one-match ban for a dangerous tackle.

Naitanui tackled Port Adelaide's Karl Amon from behind midway through the final quarter of the Eagles' 42-point victory at Optus Stadium and, as the Power player fell to the ground, landed on top of him.

After a hearing that ran for nearly two hours, jury members Richard Loveridge, David Neitz and Shane Wakelin deliberated for 15 minutes before upholding Naitanui's suspension.

"I don't think I feel like I need to change anything. There was no malice in it. There was no aggression," Naitanui said.

"It was just a tackle, I guess, and that's part of our game. It's been part of our game since day one.

"If I was seeking to go out and hurt someone, then I'd cop what I needed to and I wouldn't be as disappointed.

"But because it was just an act that I've done for the last 10 years of my career, I was left a little bit dumbfounded to a degree."

Thursday, 12 April 2018
Nic Naitanui expresses sadness at not being able to have his late mother be part of his 150th game.

"She's been there through the whole journey and the hardships I faced early days," Naitanui said.

"To see me get to this point, there's not too many of us boys that got drafted in that one street to get to 150 – I'm the first of the lot – so I reckon she'd be really proud."

Sunday, 25 March 2018
Nic Naitanui gets through his first match in 19 months for the Eagles unscathed, tallying 33 hit-outs, four clearances and booting a goal in West Coast's 29-point loss to Sydney.

"I think he's pulled up pretty well. He's all smiles back there in terms of how he's recovered," West Coast coach Adam Simpson said post-match.

"He's obviously still building towards complete match fitness.

"But he'd done enough in the last month, despite a lot of speculation, to play like he did tonight with confidence."

Saturday, 10 March 2018
After more than 18 months on the sidelines, Nic Naitanui made his long-awaited return to football in the low-key environment of a WAFL practice match.

Importantly, he got through unscathed, playing 54 minutes for East Perth and tallying 14 possessions and 33 hit-outs at East Fremantle Oval.

"(It was) encouraging. It's a follow-on from what he has been doing at training. Nothing adverse. He looked pretty natural most of the time," Eagles football manager Craig Vozzo said.

"(He) probably didn't jump as high as we have seen in the past, but there are some encouraging signs. He landed well."

Thursday, 8 March 2018
Nic Naitanui will make his long-awaited return to football in an East Perth practice match against East Fremantle this Sunday.

The 201cm ruckman will play his first competitive match since round 22, 2016 when he ruptured the ACL in his left knee against Hawthorn.

"He's done everything we needed him to do (at training), so the next phase is to hit some bodies," Eagles coach Adam Simpson said.

"The next phase is to get some combative work against opposition. We thought we'd do it at East Perth just to manage the minutes, manage the positionings and rotations."

Tuesday, 6 February 2018
Nic Naitanui is promoted to the Eagles' leadership group for 2018.

"I think having the past year off has really improved my leadership," Naitanui said.

"Obviously not being able to have an impact on the field, I’ve had to find different avenues.

"Finding some stuff off-field with some of the players has really built my leadership over the past couple of months and year in particular."

Jeremy McGovern and Andrew Gaff have retained their positions supporting skipper Shannon Hurn, plus deputies Luke Shuey and Josh Kennedy.

Sunday, 5 November 2017
Nic Naitanui says he has fully recovered from his knee reconstruction.

"The knee is feeling just as good as it was before I hurt it," Naitanui told News Corp.

"I am ready to play. If we had a game today, I'd be ready to go."

Naitanui said he could see the positive side of missing out on the entire 2017 season.

"It has been a really good learning curve and I've been able to see footy from a different point of view," he said.

"Most of the time you are entrenched on what's going on, on game day, because you are in the moment.

"To be able to step back a little and see it from another view has been a big eye-opener for me."

Friday, 20 October 2017
Nic Naitanui undergoes minor surgery on his reconstructed left knee.

"He had a very minor tidy-up - I'm talking extremely minor – several weeks back, and he's back into his full rehab training now," Eagles general manager of football Craig Vozzo said.

"They trimmed a little bit of cartilage.

"They smoothed off an edge or something because he was feeling it when he was up to speed, but he's fine now.

Sunday, 10 September 2017
Nic Naitanui posts a video on social media of his animated celebrations as the Eagles progressed to a semi-final against Greater Western Sydney following Luke Schuey's dramatic after-the-siren goal against Port Adelaide.

"The dream is still alive," he wrote on Twitter, telling Shuey: "'Bootsy' I will carry your bags all week".

Naitanui has recovered from a knee reconstruction after more than 12 months on the sidelines and will make himself available for selection through the finals.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017
Nic Naitanui says he holds out some hope of joining the senior Eagles side during their 2017 finals campaign but will not be pushing himself aggressively to do so.

"To come back and help the boys if I can to some extent would be awesome," he said.

"I don't really want to come in and try to be some sort of hero, underdone when there's someone who is fresh and has been playing some good footy all year having to jeopardise their spot."

Tuesday, 25 July 2017
Nic Naitanui says his recovery is on track but he will take a conservative approach to his return to AFL football.

"I don't want to come back and still be a bit sore or be at any risk to hurt myself again, because I obviously know how long a process it is with a knee," Naitanui said.

"I'd hate to start all over again just for the sake of coming back too soon."

Wednesday, 28 June 2017
Eagles coach Adam Simpson concedes that Nic Naitanui may not return to football in 2017.

"At this stage it's getting pretty difficult," Simpson said.

"Once he gets back from overseas, we'll make a call on it but it's getting towards the end of the year and it's going to be pretty tough for him."

Tuesday, 20 June 2017
Nic Naitanui will travel to the United States as he ramps up his bid to return from a knee reconstruction.

Naitanui hasn't given up hope of playing this season and will soon head to the US for some high-intensity training under the guidance of renowned sports injury expert Bill Knowles.

"I'll do a bit of training in the US over the next couple of weeks and then fingers crossed, hopefully I'll come back and play towards the back end of the year," Naitanui said.

"It'll just be a quick trip. The longer I postpone it, the later in the season it gets. I want to get it done now so I can give myself a good crack at coming back this year."

Saturday, 8 April 2017
Eagles coach Adam Simpson says it will be a bonus if Nic Naitanui plays in 2017.

"We're not really planning for it (Naitanui's return). It's too hard to," Simpson said.

"If it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen. If it does, it's an absolute bonus for us.

"He's taking each week as it comes. Little goals are his focus at the moment. The longer-term stuff will take care of itself."

Tuesday, 21 March 2017
Winged West Coast ruckmen Nic Naitanui and Scott Lycett have been placed on the long-term injury list, paving the way for rookie-listed big man Drew Petrie to face former club North Melbourne.
Thursday, 16 March 2017
Lance Franklin and Tom Boyd are widely believed to be among the competition's highest paid players.

Franklin was paid about $700,000 in each of his first two seasons at Sydney, but his salary is understood to have risen to at least seven figures in 2016.

Boyd crossed to the Bulldogs from Greater Western Sydney at the end of 2014 on a seven-year deal worth about $7 million.

The 2013 draft's No.1 pick earned about $140,000 under standardised second-year player wages and match payments in his first year at the Whitten Oval, but that amount spiked markedly in 2016.

Gary Ablett also earned at least $1 million in 2016, while Fremantle captain Nat Fyfe, Collingwood skipper Scott Pendlebury and West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui were widely seen by industry sources as earning close to that mark.

Monday, 13 February 2017
Nic Naitanui concedes he may miss the entire 2017 season after undergoing a knee reconstruction at the end of last year.

"I knew the journey would be hard but never did I think it was as tough as it has been," Naitanui told Channel Seven.

"It could be round one, 2018 at the new stadium. That’s something good to look forward to, but at the same time it’s so far away.

"If I was in my last year I’d really have a crack [at a 2017 return] but I’ve got to be smart about it and look to my long-term future."

Monday, 9 January 2017
Nic Naitanui has ticked off a significant milestone by running for the first time since surgery to repair his ruptured anterior cruciate ligament.

"The milestone really was to get outdoors, and to start jogging and getting into running, which I've started today, it's a slow progression but it's something," Naitanui said.

"(I felt) reasonably good. It was a bit weird, I haven't run since August when I did my knee."

Sunday, 18 September 2016
Nic Naitanui says he can get back to AFL football late next season following his knee reconstruction but he won't rush his rehabilitation.

"I'm not going to rush it," Naitanui said.

"I'll be back towards the back end of the year. That's my focus and my plan, barring nothing goes wrong."

Tuesday, 23 August 2016
Nic Naitanui's 2017 season is now a write-off with the star West Coast ruckman set to have a traditional knee reconstruction.

The Eagles spent the past 24 hours exploring all surgery options - including a hybrid LARS-hamstring graft that can produce a quicker recovery time - but they have opted for a traditional hamstring graft to repair the ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

Saturday, 20 August 2016
Nic Naitanui's season is over after scans confirmed the star ruckman has ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

West Coast feared the worst on Friday night after Naitanui landed awkwardly on his left leg in the third term of the 25-point win over Hawthorn.

Naitanui will require a knee reconstruction and will meet with surgeons this week to determine the best course of action.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016
Nic Naitanui says he only agreed to pain-relieving surgery on his plantaris tendons if the club could guarantee he would return before the end of the season.

Naitanui told Channel Seven that he would have played the season out with the pain if necessary.

But coach Adam Simpson and the Eagles medical staff felt it was the right decision to get the surgery done.

"There's only a certain amount of times you can stick a needle in to play games," Naitanui said.

"We went down the path of going the conservative option but there was a chance I can still play again this year. That was my main focus.

"I said I could deal with the pain if it meant having surgery at the end of the year. But they said I'm still a chance to come back. I think it was the right decision to make."

Thursday, 16 June 2016
West Coast confirm that star ruckman Nic Naitanui has had surgery on both heels to alleviate his inflamed tendon issues, with the club is confident he will return within eight weeks.
Monday, 13 June 2016
Nic Naitanui will miss up to two months after being sent for surgery to repair an ongoing Achilles tendon issue.

Naitanui has been playing through the injury, but his form in the past two matches has suffered after the injury flared against the Western Bulldogs in round 11.

"Despite managing his training load and taking a conservative approach to his preparation and game time, the injury has not improved," football manager Craig Vozzo said.

"He is quite sore after games, even after keeping his weight off his legs last week.

"After our medical staff considered all of the available options, we decided that the minor surgery was in Nic's best long-term interests."

Monday, 6 June 2016
Eagles coach Adam Simpson says West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui has been dealing with an ongoing Achilles problem in recent weeks but should be available to play.

Naitanui arrived and left the Eagles' recovery session on Monday on crutches due to the foot complaint, raising concerns about his fitness ahead of Saturday night's clash against the Crows at Domain Stadium.

"Going to the club on crutches today, (there were) alarm bells everywhere, but he's probably feeling the same he's felt for the last five weeks with his Achilles. They just get a bit sore," Simpson said.

"It's a concern but I think he'll still be right to play."

Monday, 23 May 2016
Nic Naitanui doesn't want the AFL to introduce a send-off rule despite watching his teammate Andrew Gaff get knocked unconscious by the Power's Tom Jonas over the weekend.

Umpires coach Hayden Kennedy had said that the umpires would be happy to hand out red cards if the AFL rules called for it, but Naitanui doesn't want to see the rule introduced.

"I don't think guys are doing anything too bad that warrants getting sent off," Naitanui said.

"I don't think it's in anyone's character. You don't have guys these days growing up to do that purposely.

"It was a late hit (on Gaff), and not something you want to see. But I'm sure the Match Review Panel will deal with it.

"I think it's probably worse that you stay on the field when you do something like that - because you feel pretty bad."

Friday, 4 March 2016
Nic Naitanui is preparing to take his game to another level by becoming more damaging in attack this season.

"For us to be able to go forward and take a few more marks and kick a few more goals has been our bigger focus," Naitanui said.

"(West Coast's ruckmen) need to add to that to our game where we're able to kick 20-odd goals throughout the year, that will be the target."

Wednesday, 10 February 2016
Nic Naitanui says he is preparing to spend more time forward in 2016 with the new interchange cap set to force more players to rest on the ground.

"Obviously [with rotations] being cut by so much, we'll have to play a fair majority of the game on the field," he said.

"Just being able to have your rest up forward rather than on the bench, it's better for the players and better for the spectators. So we really look forward to it."

Thursday, 21 January 2016
The AFL's Multicultural Program will expand to 18 player ambassadors in 2016 and will also include two female players.

Sabrina Frederick-Traub and Darcy Vescio will be joined in promoting some of the many diverse backgrounds in Australia’s Game by Brisbane Lions Vice Captain Dayne Zorko, Geelong’s Tom Hawkins, Fremantle’s Tendai Mzundu, Gold Coast SUNS players Adam Saad and Tom Nicholls, Sydney Swan Aliir Aliir and Western Bulldogs player Jason Johannisen.

The new additions in 2016 join existing Australia Post AFL Multicultural Player Ambassadors David Zaharakis (Essendon), Stephen Coniglio (GWS GIANTS), Paul Puopolo (Hawthorn), Shem Tatupu (Hawthorn), Alipate Carlile (Port Adelaide), Jimmy Toumpas (Port Adelaide), Bachar Houli (Richmond), Nic Naitanui (West Coast) and Lin Jong (Western Bulldogs).

“The expanded list of 18 ambassadors, representing 13 AFL Clubs and two female Clubs, will play a crucial role in raising cultural understanding, inclusion and participation at all levels of Australian Football,” AFL General Manager Game and Market Development Simon Lethlean said.

Monday, 28 September 2015
Nic Naitanui's astonishing leap against Geelong in round nine at Domain Stadium earns him the 2015 Mark of the Year award.
Saturday, 12 September 2015
West Coast players will continue to rally around Nic Naitanui as the star ruckman deals with the emotional fallout of his mother's death.

Naitanui was in tears following Friday night's qualifying final win over Hawthorn, with the pain of his recent loss still clearly raw.

Teammate Will Schofield went through a similar experience in 2012 when his father died suddenly during the season.

Naitanui has been in the hottest of form over the past four weeks since returning from his mum's funeral in Fiji.

But the tears have also flowed freely throughout that time.

Schofield said he and his teammates were doing their best to support the 2012 All Australian.

"Nic's going to be going through it for a while. I can empathise with him a little bit," Schofield said on Saturday.

"It's a tough time. To his credit, he's getting up and playing great games of footy.

"But he's going to be emotional - not just after footy games but during the week as well.

"We're all behind him. He's got a lot of support around the footy club and a lot of friends and family here as well."

Monday, 1 June 2015
Nic naitanui has promised teammate Callum Sinclair the prize for mark of the year if he wins for his spectacular grab during West Coast's victory over Geelong on Sunday afternoon.

The Eagles star launched himself onto the shoulders of his 200cm ruck partner to take a mark of the year contender in the last quarter.

Naitanui slotted the set shot from a tough angle to push to margin to a comfortable 32 points after his teammates had kicked poorly for goal all afternoon.

Sinclair told AFL.com.au that Naitanui promised him a reward for the ride.

"He's promised me the (prize) if he wins it this year," Sinclair said.

"I was actually pretty dirty. I thought he was going to hold out and let me have a crack one-on-one but I soon found out that that wasn't the case.

"Hopefully he wins it this year. That'll help me out.

"I thought he dropped it actually, on the way down. I'm happy for him."

Monday, 25 May 2015
Luke Shuey says Eagles teammate Nic Naitanui has copped unwarranted criticism in the past and is finally showing his value as a ruckman for West Coast.

"His ruck work is the best it's been in a long time, probably ever. So I'm just happy I'm roving to him," Shuey said of Naitanui.

"I think outside people probably judged him a bit unfairly. He has had a shocking run with his body. He hardly got any minutes into him over pre-seasons for a number of years.

"He finally had a good run at it this year and he's fit and up and going, which makes our job a hell of a lot easier."

Monday, 18 May 2015
Nic Naitanui hears the constant criticism about his lack of marks but he says he is more worried about his ruck work.

"I think the thing I hear the most is, 'when is Nic Nat going to take another mark?'" Naitanui said.

"That's probably the biggest one. But, for myself, I play different to other ruckmen. So for me it's the follow-up stuff, the tackling, and hit-outs to advantage is something I really take pride in.

"As long as I give first use to boys like Matt Priddis, Luke Shuey, and Chris Masten, those sort of guys, I'm pretty happy that I'm contributing to the team."

Monday, 20 April 2015
Nic Naitanui is allegedly the subject of racial abuse from a fan during West Coast's round 3 Derby loss to Fremantle.

A spokesman for Domain Stadium confirmed that a fan had made a formal complaint to security staff alleging a member of the crowd had racially vilified Naitanui during the match.

Security staff attended the scene but the patron could not identify exactly where the comment came from.

The security staff remained on the scene for an extended period of time but no further racial comments were heard.

Domain Stadium stated it was unable to pursue the matter any further unless more evidence came to light.

Thursday, 26 February 2015
Nic Naitanui has been held out of Friday night's NAB Challenge due to back soreness, but the West Coast hierarchy believe the injury is only minor.

"We're hopeful it's a minor setback and he'll be fine for the next game. It's precaution more than anything," Eagles assistant coach Don Pyke said.

"He was a little bit disappointed when he found out he wasn't going to be playing because he's done a lot of work this pre-season and is in really good shape."

Tuesday, 27 January 2015
Nic Naitanui has put his hand up to face the AFL Indigenous All Stars and the West Coast star wants to play as much of the NAB Challenge as possible.

"Our aim is to get through as much game time in as possible," Naitanui said.

"But I guess to a certain extent I have to be smart about it. The real reason we play is for round one and then on. However many games I need is what I look forward to."

Thursday, 22 January 2015
After a season in 2014 that was below his expectations, Nic Naitanui says he's determined to silence his critics in 2015.

"I can't wait. We've done a fair bit of running this summer and I've never looked forward to round one more than this year," Naitanui said.

"Obviously last year (I was) a bit hampered and (wasn't) able to perform as well as I wanted to. This year I've got a bit of a point to prove."

Monday, 17 November 2014
West Coast coach Adam Simpson admits he's nervous about star ruckman Nic Naitanui playing in Saturday night's Virgin Australia International Rules Test against Ireland.

The club was happy for Naitanui to play in the one-off Test at Patersons Stadium but the Eagles coach admits he's crossing his fingers his star ruckman gets through the game unscathed.

"We have embraced the game, but having said that he is a West Coast Eagles player and we wouldn't put him at risk if we didn't have to," Simpson said.

"He has come back (to training) early, he's done the work. He's trained the last two weeks and he is in a good position.

"But if he is sore or if he is showing signs that he can't contribute, then he won't play. So we won't take any risks. But at the moment he's feeling really good."

Sunday, 31 August 2014
Nic Naitanui describes his 2014 season as "pretty tough" but is excited about the prospect of his first uninterrupted pre-season in two years.

"For myself, as long as you're meeting your goals internally you don't really worry about the outside influence," Naitanui said.

"I guess consistency is a little thing that was touched on a bit and just getting my body right.

"I'm really looking forward to this pre-season coming up."

Thursday, 24 July 2014
Nic Naitanui says he'd love to meet racist people so he can help them change their ways.

Naitanui believes education is the key to helping eradicate racism in society, and says he doesn't hold any grudges towards people who have abused him in the past.

"I have no hate against anyone. I just don't have it in me," Naitanui said.

"Guys like that - they don't really bother me. I guess it's just their lack of education or ignorance.

"I'd love to meet people like that and introduce them to our cultural backgrounds and what we're all about, because at the end of the day we're all the same."

Thursday, 17 July 2014
Nic Naitanui admits he has been underwhelming this year and hopes to have a solid pre-season next year to improve significantly in 2015.

"It hasn't been the best season for me," Naitanui said.

"For me, it's about trying to find that balance and trying to find that consistency, so I'm just looking to finish off pretty strongly over the next couple of weeks."

Thursday, 10 July 2014
West Coast coach Adam Simpson says he is astounded at the media's fascination with Nic Naitanui's form.

"I do get surprised when it's 'He's the best player in the competition' to 'Should he be dropped?," Simpson said.

"I don't see that in other players. When someone plays poorly or has a couple of poor weeks and they've been an established senior player, an All Australian, I don't see the criticism come so quick and then it goes away again.

"But that's the surprising thing for me. The levels of expectation and love, it's just up and down all the time."

Monday, 9 June 2014
Nic Naitanui will play in his 100th game against Gold Coast at Patersons Stadium this week.

"My first 100 games I've enjoyed and there's always going to be those ups and downs," Naitanui said.

"I'm still growing and aging, just getting the feel of my body and how it works and what it can handle.

"I feel I'm at that stage now where I'm pretty aware of what's going on and what I can handle week to week.

"I'm quite happy to say my best footy is ahead of me."

Thursday, 29 May 2014
West Coast coach Adam Simpson says Nic Naitanui's biggest challenge is getting easy possessions.

"Naitanui's great at hunting the ball," Simpson told Perth radio station 6PR.

"The challenge for me as a coach is to try to educate him on how to get some of those easy touches around the ground."

Wednesday, 21 May 2014
Nic Naitanui signs a five-year contract extension with West Coast, tying him to the Eagles until at least the end of 2019.

"The West Coast Eagles is my home. The club has been good to me from the time I got here and I love it here. It's like family," Naitanui said.

"I thoroughly enjoy being a part of the playing group and I reckon we are getting close to real success. I want to be around that because I feel like we are building."

Monday, 19 May 2014
Nic Naitanui wants to be an Eagle for life but insists he hasn't been greedy during negotiations for a new deal.

"Our club is really fair; they look after their players. So I am just happy to leave it in their hands and whatever they choose is right I guess," Naitanui said.

"I don't want to go anywhere else. (The Eagles) have looked after me my whole career and it's somewhere I want to stay for the rest of my career."

Friday, 9 May 2014
Josh Kennedy is willing to take a pay cut for star West Coast teammate Nic Naitanui to stay at the club.

"He's a superstar. His form might not be showing that at the moment, but the way he can turn the game on and light it up is better than anyone," Kennedy said.

"If I had a million bucks, I'd pay him to get him in my team. I'd love him to stay here and I'd take a pay cut for him."

Friday, 18 April 2014
Scans have cleared Nic Naitanui of any damage to his Achilles tendon after he copping a knock to the back of his lower leg during the Eagles' loss to Geelong.

Eagles coach Adam Simpson urged fans to be patient while the 2012 All Australian builds up his form and fitness.

"Everyone is different," Simpson said.

"The type of player he is - such a power athlete - to have confidence in your body is the first step and he's still getting that.

"We'll back him in. We'll see how he goes tomorrow and we expect there'll be an improvement."

Wednesday, 16 April 2014
West Coast coach Adam Simpson says Nic Naitanui must be carefully managed after not having managed a full pre-season for a few years now.

"He's coming off a limited pre-season and unfortunately it's not just one pre-season, it's two or three so we're trying our best to manage his time and of course we'd like an improvement on what he can do," Simpson said.

"But at the moment it's a bit of a battle."

Sunday, 13 April 2014
Nic Naitanui tallies just six disposals and six hit-outs in two-and-a-half quarters of football before being removed from the ground against Geelong due to soreness.

"We just subbed him off halfway through the third," Eagles coach Adam Simpson said.

"He was a little tight but we didn't see any reason to keep him out there."

Wednesday, 5 March 2014
West Coast will be conservative with star ruckman Nic Naitanui in his first hit-out of the year at Patersons Stadium in a practice match against Fremantle.

"We're not looking at an exceptional performance from Nic," West Coast coach Adam Simpson said.

"We just want to get his numbers up. It's been a long time since he's played so we'll be really conservative with our approach."

Friday, 14 February 2014
West Coast coach Adam Simpson says Nic Naitanui is not certainty to play in round one.

"It's not about, 'Let's get him to round one'. It's just, 'Let's get him right'. It's a long year," Simpson said.

"He's not ready to play right now. If he progresses like he has, he'll play round one. If he has a hiccup, he won't play.

"It's a day-to-day, week-to-week thing."

Sunday, 12 January 2014
Dean Cox says a fit Nic Naitanui is the Eagles' prime ruckman.

"Certainly if Nic is up and running and fully fit he is our No.1 ruckman," Cox told News Limited.

"He's such an important part of our footy team to make sure that his work rate is really monitored throughout the year as well and that he can front up pain free."

Saturday, 7 December 2013
The Eagles take no chances with Nic Naitanui to ensure there is no repeat of his injury-plagued 2013.

"Let's try to get it right for the long-term, is the approach, and slowly but surely we are getting there," West Coast football operations manager Craig Vozzo said.

"It can be frustrating at times for any player, not just Nic, spending extended periods in a rehab program.

"But Nic is handling it pretty well, we think, and we're keen to keep that graduated improvement going and we're confident we will."

Sunday, 10 November 2013
Nic Naitanui has battled groin soreness throughout the 2013 season but Eagles coach Adam Simpson believes the star ruckman will be pain-free and ready to tackle the pre-season on November 18.

"He's definitely running now - I think he's pain-free," Simpson said.

"So, touch wood, he's right to go. We'll manage him as well. He's pretty keen to make a pretty good first impression, so we'll make sure we manage his loads, but at the moment he looks OK."

Tuesday, 10 September 2013
Nic Naitanui backs current Eagles assistant coach Scott Burns to take over from the recently resigned John Worsfold as head coach of the Eagles.

"I just think he's probably the right man to do it, but I'm sure if they choose someone else that's going to be the right decision as well," Naitanui said.

"He's a very wise man. He's brought a lot since he's come from Collingwood and he's worked under 'Woosh' for the last five years as well."

Thursday, 23 May 2013
Eagles coach John Worsfold says Nic Naitanui is no chance of leaving West Coast despite overtures from GWS and their coach Kevin Sheedy.

"While he's contracted here, it's not in our plans for any of that to change. That's the short answer," Worsfold said.

"Nic's a wonderful young man, level-headed with great values. We're very lucky to have that package here."

Wednesday, 22 May 2013
As West Coast prepare to take on GWS at Skoda Stadium, GWS coach Kevin Sheedy pens an open letter to Nic Naitanui, declaring his utmost admiration for the star ruckman who was born in Penrith in Sydney's west.

"From the moment you set foot on an AFL field, you captured the public's imagination with your extraordinary athleticism, prodigious leap and ability to provide dazzling moments like last weekend," Sheedy wrote.

"Our game needs stars and you are truly one of those. I only wish you had never left Western Sydney and had played for the Giants.

"I am pleased though that you will be coming here this Saturday when the Eagles play the Giants at Skoda Stadium. Our game needs drawcards and you are certainly one of those."

Saturday, 18 May 2013
Nic Naitanui kicks a goal after the siren to stun the Roos.

The Fijian phenomenon took a towering mark over a huge pack with 30 seconds to go and calmly slotted a goal after the siren to send a packed Patersons Stadium into pandemonium, giving West Coast an extraordinary two-point win over North Melbourne.

"I backed him to mark it, and kick a goal," Eagles coach John Worsfold said after the match.

"It happened so quick. Just looking at the clock, it was just kick it in long. Nic was the one we were probably thinking might be able to mark it, and somehow he did it."

After kicking the winning goal against North Melbourne, Nic Naitanui says personal grief tempered his exuberance about his heroics.

"My girlfriend's little cousin passed away. Being a young little baby it's pretty sad," Naitanui said.

"The funeral was yesterday. I guess I was pretty high on emotion and dedicated that game and that finish to them and the family."

"It just puts everything into perspective as well. There's people doing it tougher out there and we're pretty fortunate to be doing what we do everyday."

Friday, 3 May 2013
Nic Naitanui will make his return to AFL football after being selected in the Eagles' round 6 side to take on the Western Bulldogs.
Sunday, 14 April 2013
Nic Naitanui will remain on the sidelines for a further four to six weeks after suffering a further setback to his persistent groin injury.
Tuesday, 9 April 2013
West Coast has started 2013 with an 0-2 record and Dean Cox says the Eagles are missing Nic Naitanui's presence.

"What he can bring around centre bounces, around stoppages, is what no other ruckman can bring in a game of football," Cox said.

"His hit-out to advantage percentage is really high. He can put opposition sides on the back foot from the start.

"With Nic, if he was getting over blokes you could be a lot more attacking. His ability to win centre-bounce hit-outs and then follow it up is his greatest strength."

Tuesday, 19 March 2013
West Coast has been dealt a further blow with Nic Naitanui and Daniel Kerr expected to miss a further month with knee and groin injuries respectively.
Monday, 4 March 2013
Nic Naitanui remains unsure if he'll be fit to face Fremantle in round one.

"I'm back running, and I've been doing some controlled skills, kicking the footy and that again," Naitanui said.

"Maybe in the next week leading into round one I'll start doing some full training and a bit of contact stuff.

"But it all goes on how I'm feeling and how I pull up after each session. I don't want to be making any promises."

Saturday, 9 February 2013
Nic Naitanui rules himself out of the NAB Cup as he continues to recover from groin surgery.

"I'm back running again now and just eyeing off the early part of the year … no date as of yet," Naitanui said.

"I' won't be ready for NAB Cup. I'm just running and starting my skill work at the moment, so it'd be unrealistic and I'd be lying if I said I was going to play NAB Cup.

"But I'm looking forward to the season proper. I go week-by-week and where I'm at with the physios."

Thursday, 24 January 2013
Eagles ruckman Nic Naitanui denies he is suffering from osteitis pubis as he recovers from groin surgery.

"I'm fine. I have been following my program. My goal is still round one. I'll see how I go and track along in the next few weeks," he said.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013
The Eagles will not ruch Nic Naitanui back for the start of the season as he recovers from groin surgery.

"He's just started running again, so he's a long way behind the rest of the group and we'll take a really cautious approach with him," Eagles assistant coach Justin Longmuir said.

"We really need Nic Nat firing at the end of the year, not so much at the start of the year. If he comes up for round one that will be great, but we've got the cover if he doesn't come up for round one."

Wednesday, 21 November 2012
Star Eagle Nic Naitanui will make a delayed start to pre-season training, facing groin surgery next week.

"Nic was managed in the latter stages of the 2012 season and, based on medical advice, we were hopeful that with a good rest period he would avoid the necessity for surgery," Eagles football operations manager Neale Daniher said.

"Because Nic was still sore after a lengthy period of rest, we booked an appointment for him to meet with a specialist today. As a result of that consultation, Nic will have surgery next week."

Saturday, 8 September 2012
West Coast star Nic Naitanui is working on new ways to confound opposition midfielders with his hitouts.

"We use both hands and we'll change up our angles," Naitanui said.

"We like to mix it up to catch the other mids off guard. It's just another element we want to add to our game.

"We spend a truckload of time on it, and our ruck coach Simon Eastaugh graphs it all up."

Friday, 7 September 2012
Leigh Matthews says some tactics being used against Eagle Nic Naitanui are 'borderline illegal' and that West Coast coach John Worsfold would have contacted the AFL umpiring department about this.

"Firstly to absolutely to clarify what they can do and also to put it in the umpires' mind that they're blocking and denying access to the ball, because that then becomes illegal and is a free kick," Matthews said.

"I will be really interested to see how the umpires adjudicate the first few centre bounces on Sunday because if you let Naitanui jump, he jumps all over you."

Tuesday, 4 September 2012
Nic Naitanui hopes to emulate his mentor Dean Cox's ability to rise to the occasion in big finals.

"All the big-name players play well in September and that's what they're remembered for. I'm sure every player would want to be remembered for that," Naitanui said.

"You take a leaf out of guys like Coxy's book. He steps up week-in, week-out, but those bigger games, where he and Daniel Kerr and Darren Glass go to that next level, that is something we look to and try to take a bit out of."

Saturday, 1 September 2012
Footy great David Parkin has heaped praise on West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui, comparing him to Carlton champ Anthony Koutoufides.

"Naitanui has got a long way to catch up with Koutoufides … but in one sense they've followed a very similar pattern in their development as footballers," Parkin said.

"Nic's been the same. Naitanui's taken a bit of time, still doesn't read the play as well as he could, but at any kind of stoppage or ball on his head [he is like Koutoufides]."

Monday, 23 July 2012
Eagle Nic Naitanui says playes are blocking his run at ruck contests, a move that could be deemed illegal.

"It's one of their tactics to try and stop my jump, especially in the middle, they'll cross the line," Naitanui said.

"When it does happen I'm the first one to go up to the umps. I think the mids do as well and 'Glassy' (captain Darren Glass) will have a word to them if he does see it.

"But you can only tell the umpires so much. At the end of the day they make the decision, and if they think it's fair, it's fair, so you've just got to carry on with the game."

Saturday, 7 July 2012
Hawthorn great Leigh Matthews believes Nic Naitanui could end up being the greatest ruckman of all time.

"You watch him play and you think 'How do you do that?'" Matthews said.

"This guy's 200cm… [he's got] soft hands to put [his ruck taps] in line with the moving ground level player. But his ability to be like the big cat at ground level [is what sets him apart]."

Monday, 25 June 2012
Spring-heeled West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui trades marking tips with Carlton great Alex Jesaulenko after being brought together for the launch of AFL Multicultural Round.

"As a kid I didn't know anything about football, but I used to know those few words, 'Jesaulenko, you beauty!'," Naitanui said.

"I used to kick the socks around the house and try and take speccies on my brother, and I'd be yelling his name out."

Tuesday, 13 March 2012
Nic Naitanui says he turned down opportunities in track and field overseas, especially in the high jump, to play football at home.

"I wasn't going to pay $15,000 to go over there and jump over a pole," Naitanui said.

"There were a few guys from universities and colleges who were saying I should do something, but I'd rather jump on someone's head and take a mark on a footy ground. I just found it boring so I never really got into it."

Thursday, 8 March 2012
West Coast has counselled ruckman Nic Naitanui after his headline-grabbing dunk at a basketball game.

"It wasn't a planned thing. It was off the cuff [and] it was something Nic didn't see much risk in because I'm tipping he's done a couple before," Eagles coach John Worsfold said.

"His assessment at the time was, 'what is the possibility of being injured doing that? No possibility at all'. And I back his judgment on that.

"But he has been counselled about how to prepare for being thrown those opportunities."

Sunday, 18 December 2011
After carrying shoulder and chest injuries for most of the 2011 season, Nic Naitanui says he well on the road to recovery.

"I was pretty lucky to get through and play as many games as I did, but it's coming along well now," he said.

"I can do weights again and I can run, and I've been training every day and looking after myself."

Tuesday, 11 October 2011
West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui finally undergoes surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle believed to have been sustained in round 2.
Sunday, 11 September 2011
Nic Naitanui is the subject of racist taunts during the Eagles' qualifying final clash against Collingwood at the MCG with several members removed from the area and others reprimanded by security.

"My position is clear. If people are racially abusing players, they should be kicked out of the ground and charged," Collingwood president Eddie McGuire said.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011
West Coast coach John Worsfold says Nic Naitanui can overcome a shoulder injury and play out the rest of the 2011 season.

"He did injure his shoulder in the pre-season and that held him back a little bit in the last two or three weeks leading into the season and obviously round one, but that's getting better all the time," Worsfold said.

"We're confident he's over the worst of that and he'll continue to get better."

Wednesday, 8 December 2010
West Coast's Nic Naitanui has signed a new three-year deal that will keep him out of the clutches of Greater Western Sydney.

"This is a young and exciting group. There is already a strong bond between everyone at the club and I want to be a part of that for the next five to 10 years," Naitanui said.

"It's great to have this done so early. Pre-season is going well, there is a good vibe around the club and all the boys are working hard. I can't imagine being anywhere else."

Monday, 9 August 2010
Nic Naitanui says he does have parts of his game to work on but critics need to realise that footy is hard for young players.

"It's pretty hard to teach them, especially if they haven't played the game before as well, they don't really understand how hard it is for some of the boys, 18, 19, being out there and having to do what they do," Naitanui said.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010
West Coast coach John Worsfold says he is conscious of ruck prodigy Nic Naitanui's workload for a second-year player and that a rest could be imminent after a noticeable drop in form over the last few weeks.

"Nic is still just a second-year player who is carrying a big workload. We monitor it non-stop. We're always looking at the young players and their workloads," Worsfold said.

"We're aware that we've got a bye coming up in four or five weeks, we know that's on the radar. I would expect he'd be fine to get through to the bye."

Friday, 30 April 2010
A YouTube video depicting Eagle Nic Naitanui as a spear-waving tribesman who speaks in clicks has been pulled from the side after complaints from anti-racism groups.

"As a society we have moved on from the days when this type of humour was considered acceptable. There are laws in place that allow police to achieve the removal of these sites," Ethnic Communities Council of WA executive officer Suresh Rajan said.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010
West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui surprises no one by winning the round four NAB AFL Rising Star nomination.

Naitanui says he is not overly concerned with winning the season's NAB AFL Rising Star award for 2010.

"I don't really pay attention to it. I'm there to win games, that's the main thing. If something like that happens, it happens. I'm not too fazed about those kind of individual awards at the moment," he said.

Naitanui added that the pressure on Jack Watts who was selected before him in the 2008 national draft and has so far failed to impress is unwarranted.

"I spoke to Jack last week. We have the same manager and keep in touch pretty often. It's sad that he has that pressure on him," he said.

"He doesn't get fazed though, that is the good thing about him. He doesn't pay attention to it and he just plays his footy and enjoys it."

Saturday, 17 April 2010
West Coast's Daniel Metropolis says it was difficult not to show emotion in the coach's box as young ruckman Nic Naitanui dominated against Essendon.

"He's shown that he can have such an influence and be such a massive impact player who turns the game," Metropolis said.

"At times when you see him you are just in awe. He's such a raw talent the way he approaches the game and the improvement he's had. He's going to get so much better - that's the exciting thing for us."

Friday, 16 April 2010
A survey of coaches says Nic Naitanui can become the competition's premier player, ahead of Michael Hurley and Cyril Rioli.
Thursday, 15 April 2010
The Herald Sun reveals that Nic Naitanui has benefited from a pre-season where he has trained with the aid of an earpiece connected to an iPhone stitched into his jumper.

"There's no doubt it (the phone link) has helped Nic's training throughout the pre-season, but Dean Cox has also played a big role encouraging him and teaching Nic where to go," Eagles midfield coach Scott Burns said.

"They are definitely working well together in that regard and it's fantastic for Dean also at this stage of his career to get some relief in the ruck and not have to spend 100 per cent of his game time there.

"There's been a lot to learn but Nic's understanding of his role and the structures around the ground has improved significantly."

Saturday, 10 April 2010
West Coast could be fined if the AFL determines its use of a mobile phone at three-quarter time to be a breach of match-day rules.

Ruckman Nic Naitanui and Dean Cox were seen using a mobile phone and are believed to have been receiving advice from ruck coach Simon Eastaugh.

We have all other sorts of communication," Eagles coach John Worsfold said.

"We can have it from a coach's box to a player on the ground, so we're assuming there is no difference."

Sunday, 28 February 2010
West Coast has stressed the need to sign Nic Naitanui to a long-term contract in order to stave off bids from Gold Coast and GWS.

"It's imperative that we do sign Nic and our all of our young players," Eagles boss Trevor Nisbett said.

"It's also important to keep it in perspective that Nic still has got a hell of a lot to learn.

Friday, 19 February 2010
West Coast coach John Worsfold says Nic Naitanui's dominant NAB Cup display has forced him to change the way he plans to use the youngster.

"He's had a really good pre-season this year, so straight away he's miles ahead (of last season). He's fitter, he's grown (and) he's stronger than he was last year. That means he's more equipped to cope with AFL footy," Worsfold said.

"It's opened up a lot of different challenges for us as a match committee."

Melbourne coach Dean Bailey says Jack Watts is aware that stories comparing him to West Coast's Nic Naitanui are going to get written particular after Naitanui impressed in the NAB Cup opener against Essendon.

"Jack's going to go about his business. Jack wants to play as well as he can, as soon as he can for the Melbourne footy club and what's written is written and what's said is said," Bailey said.

"We're not going to be distracted by outside stories that are written - they're going to be written anyway regardless of who it is. But Jack's concentrating on developing his football and we've seen that in the last month, so that's good."

Monday, 15 February 2010
West Coast chief executive Trevor Nisbett says Nic Naitanui and Dean Cox will be a formidable ruck combination for the Eagles in 2010 under coach John Worsfold.

"John's made it clear already that both Dean and Nic will spend a lot of time in the forward line when the other is on the ball," Nisbett said.

"There's no doubt they will both be sharing the workload. John's said that, and that is the great value in having both of them."

Saturday, 13 February 2010
A dominant display from West Coast Nic Naitanui gives his side a 35-point NAB Cup win over Essendon at Subiaco.

The young ruckman had 21 hitouts, 7 clearances and kicked 3 goals against the Bombers, earning high praise from Essendon coach Matthew Knights.

"He is the most awesome young talent running around in the game at the present time. The talent, the recovery, the speed and the willingness to keep jumping all night - he really had a special game," Knights said.

Thursday, 3 September 2009
Nic Naitanui gives chase to a thief he caught stealing a pair of tracksuit pants from a shop.

"It was nothing superhuman," Naitanui said.

"I think he was a bit shocked to see a big black guy running after him as well.

"It happened pretty quick, he just threw them and kept going."

Wednesday, 22 July 2009
West Coast coach John Worsfold has sought answers from AFL umpires manager Jeff Gieschen over negating tactics used against young ruckman Nic Naitanui against Port Adelaide.

"There's no doubt against Lade and Brogan on the weekend they really worked hard to take his run away - fair to say that the umpires have admitted as much," Worsfold said.

"We've asked Jeff [Gieschen] about where it sits and asked queries on a few centre bounces from the weekend.

"We've said, 'What's the deal?' Jeff has said, 'They should have been free kicks'."

Thursday, 2 July 2009
Eagle Nic Naitanui is aware of the hype his first three goals in the AFL created, but embarrassed by the praise.

"The blokes that kick goals always get noticed the most, but I thought I had a pretty poor game - I think I'd only had one or two touches beforehand," Naitanui said.

"Our ruck coach came up to me at three-quarter time and told me, 'you've got to do something to redeem yourself,' so that sort of motivated me.

"But I think it came down to luck at the end of the day."

Wednesday, 1 July 2009
AIS-AFL high performance coach Jason McCartney has called for people to lay off Jack Watts.

"Jack Watts has copped a bit of heat unnecessarily," McCartney said on Wednesday at Docklands, the venue for the final day of the NAB AFLUnder-18 Championships.

"You can't compare him to Nic Naitanui, or Daniel Rich. Daniel Rich has played in two premierships for Subiaco - and has a big, strong body. Nic Naitanui played a year of senior football last year.

"Jack Watts is a schoolboy, who has played four TAC Cup games. It's hard to really compare those boys who get the opportunity to play some senior footy, it probably does help them."

Monday, 29 June 2009
West Coast's new cult hero Nic Naitanui has penned a new AFL deal with the Eagles, along with defenders Mitchell Brown and Eric Mackenzie.

"They are the future of the club and securing them for another contract is important for our club," operations manager Neale Daniher said.

"This is a very exciting time for our football club and those three young men are all integral in our plans."

Sunday, 28 June 2009
David Wirrpanda says the future looks bright after a host of young stars shone in the club's win over Hawthorn.

Young ruckman Nicholas Naitanui, in particular, was impressive with three crucial goals to sink the Hawks in just his second game.

"As a young bloke you have expectations that are thrown on you that you don't deserve and he's one of those players that has had the whole footy world waiting to see what he can do," Wirrpanda said.

"He showed glimpses of it in his first game and this was only his second, so what he could end up doing is kind of frightening if he develops over the next three or four years as a senior player."

Tuesday, 23 June 2009
Nic Naitanui has had his first taste of AFL action but is set to receive an even bigger slice of the pie against Hawthorn on Saturday night.

With four-time All-Australian ruckman Dean Cox struggling to overcome a groin complaint, Naitanui could be thrust into the lead ruck role against the Hawks in just his second game.

Sunday, 14 June 2009
West Coast will continue to present draftee Nic Naitanui with games if his form and fitness warrant it after the gifted ruckman made his debut against the Tigers.

"He's very exciting - really pleased with the way he went but, again, you can see how nervous and young they look in their first hit-outs," Eagles coach John Worsfold said after the match.

"But he obviously shows a lot of promise.

"Depending on how he's travelling, if he's bringing something to the team then we'll certainly try to keep him going. That's how he's going to learn the best."

Friday, 12 June 2009
West Coast will finally blood Nick Naitanui, with the teenage ruckman to make his much anticipated debut against Richmond tomorrow night.

"We're not expecting him to come in and dominate the competition," Eagles coach John Worsfold said.

"We're expecting him to come in like you'd expect from any first-year player and just do his best and learn and start his career and build on it week to week."

Tuesday, 9 June 2009
Prized draft pick Nick Naitanui has shown enough to play at the elite level, but West Coast isn't setting a date for his debut.

"His form has improved week-to-week. So he's now ready to play at the highest level if that opportunity is there for him," Eagles coach John Worsfold said.

"We're not expecting him to come in and dominate the competition. We're expecting him to come in like you'd expect [from] any first-year player and just do his best and learn and start his career and build on it week-to-week.

"Our expectations are really long-term what he'll bring the footy club."

Tuesday, 2 June 2009
Nic Naitanui is in the mix to make his highly-anticipated AFL debut in Sunday's clash with Geelong at Subiaco Oval.

"Fitness wise he's getting close to being ready to being capable of playing AFL footy," Eagles coach John Worsfold said today.

"Form wise and requirement wise for our team - that will now be assessed weekly in terms of when he's ready."

Saturday, 30 May 2009
West Coast coach John Worsfold says young ruckman Nick Naitanui could make his AFL debut against Geelong in round 11.

"He would be a chance to be in the mix," Worsfold said.

"We just really want to test him out in terms of overall workload."

Friday, 24 April 2009
Hamstring tightness will keep West Coast recruit Nick Naitanui from playing for Swan Districts reserves this weekend.
Tuesday, 21 April 2009
West Coast recruit Nick Naitanui will this week line up with WAFL side Swan Districts and play his first competitive game since being drafted to the club last November.

Naitanui has been recovering from precautionary knee surgery performed in early January.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009
West Coast coach John Worsfold says they will not rush Nick Naitanui into the Eagles side.

Worsfold said Naitanui, the No.2 pick in last year's NAB AFL Draft was still three to four weeks away from being considered for selection after undergoing pre-season knee surgery.

"There's no pressure building on him. He's in a rehab program and we're in no rush," Worsfold said.

"We want him to be an exceptional player at this club for a long period of time. We'll just take our time to get him absolutely fit and ready to play."

Saturday, 10 January 2009
West Coast's prized recruit, ruckman Nick Naitanui, will miss the start of the AFL season with a knee injury.
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