Naitanui to return in the WAFL - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Naitanui to return in the WAFL

By Justin Chadwick 21/04/2009 04:08:14 PM Comments (0)

Prized West Coast AFL draft recruit Nic Naitanui will make his highly-anticipated playing return this weekend - but not for the Eagles.

Naitanui, snared with pick No.2 in last year's national draft, has been sidelined since January after undergoing minor surgery on his knee.

But the 18-year-old ruckman, who is of Fijian descent, will return to playing duties this Saturday in Swan Districts' reserves side against Claremont at Steel Blue Oval.

"He'll play roughly about half the game for Swan Districts reserves," Eagles coach John Worsfold said on Tuesday.

"We'll step up his ground time from there.

"How long he stays in the Swans reserves is really an issue for Swan Districts to decide.

"We want him to play really strict ground time this week and it would be unfair to put those restraints on Swan Districts in their senior side."

If all goes to plan, Naitanui, who is listed at 201cm but is still growing, could break into West Coast's side for their round nine home clash with Collingwood on May 23.

"(There are) no expectations, but I would be confident he would show enough form to be considered ... and that (whether we select him later in the season) will then depend on how our team's travelling and what we need and whether he's going to make us better in those given weeks," Worsfold said.

"He's lucky he's had a year of senior footy at WAFL level (last season).

"So he's not like Jordan Jones and Tom Swift and these guys who are stepping in to playing senior WAFL football.

"He's already done that."

Worsfold said that once Naitanui breaks into the side he could play in the ruck or slot into a role at centre half-back, centre half-forward or full-forward.

"We know he can play all those positions," Worsfold said.

"We think he'll have a big impact as a ruckman in the future but there is potential he could slot into a key position and do extremely well, so we are not limiting him in the long term."

Worsfold said 18-year-old midfielder Luke Shuey, who was taken with pick No.18 in last year's national draft, was recovering well from a serious groin complaint.

Shuey is still on the club's long term injury list but is on track for a playing return in six weeks.

"It was a sore groin that we took a very precautionary view with," Worsfold said.

"We decided to almost double the time out than what was recommended just to make sure we were on top of it ... and it wasn't going to develop into anything like that (osteitis pubis).

"He's running really well now, in the next week or so he'll start to do some kicking drills and join in at training in the next couple of weeks."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news