Naitanui admits to being 'undeveloped' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Naitanui admits to being 'undeveloped'

By Chris Pike 05/12/2008 07:44:56 PM Comments (0)

West Coast's prized No.2 draft selection Nicholas Naitanui is relieved to finally begin training, but believes he is still "undeveloped".

Talk raged throughout 2008 about whether the exciting Fijian-born Naitanui would be the AFL's No.1 pick, but he went second to the Eagles after an impressive first season of WAFL league football with Swan Districts.

Naitanui, along with fellow Eagles draft picks Luke Shuey (selection 18), Tom Swift (20), Ashley Smith (36) and Jordan Jones (52), had his first hit out at training on Friday.

"Training wasn't too bad. We did a few 150-metre sprints, a swim session and just some stretching. It wasn't too heavy, but it was still good," Naitanui said.

"I was pretty eager to get into it after all the sitting and waiting for the draft, plus all the media, so to get out there and do something is relieving."

Naitanui has an incredible leap, speed and general athleticism, but he is fully aware he has a lot of developing to do.

At West Coast, he will follow around All-Australian ruckman Dean Cox and his deputy Mark Seaby to learn the ropes.

Cox was his idol as a ruckman and Naitanui injured Seaby's shoulder in the WAFL preliminary final that Swan Districts came back in to beat Seaby's West Perth.

"I'm just here to develop as a player and I feel I'm undeveloped. I'm still learning the game and having Coxy and Seabs around will help me a lot," Naitanui said.

"Every kid dreams of playing, but to play next year will be a bonus.

"I don't look at it as a privilege or a right, if I'm ready then Woosha (coach John Worsfold) will say so."

West Coast's other local pick was Claremont's Swift, who was predicted to be a No.1 selection two years ago before undergoing a knee reconstruction.

Despite a setback on his other knee in 2008, Swift is confident in his body now and is using Geelong midfielder Joel Selwood, who was also overlooked by several clubs in the 2006 draft due to his knee, as inspiration.

"When I did my first knee I felt that clubs would discard me and that I wouldn't get a chance. I talked to Joel during the year and he's one of the idols I have looked up to," Swift said.

"I haven't been given any restrictions by my doctor, so I've got the all clear to hit it as hard as I can.

"Nothing has pulled up sore in my training so far, so I'm confident I can hold up."

Shuey, an inside midfielder from the Oakleigh Chargers, Smith, a speedster from the Dandenong Stingrays, and Jones, a tall defender from the Geelong Falcons, will also add youthful depth to an Eagles side that finished a disappointing 15th in 2008.

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