Naitanui re-signs with West Coast - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Naitanui re-signs with West Coast

By Justin Chadwick 29/06/2009 07:57:34 PM Comments (0)

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

Naitanui became an instant hit among Eagles fans when he was drafted with pick No.2 last year.

The 19-year-old impressed in his debut against Richmond in round 12 but took things to a whole different level against the Hawks last Saturday night, kicking three final-quarter goals to guide West Coast to an upset 20-point victory.

Naitanui, a 201cm ruckman, is being groomed to eventually take over from four-times All-Australian Dean Cox as the club's leading tap specialist.

Brown, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, resisted the temptation to return home to Victoria, where his twin brother Nathan plays for Collingwood.

While Brown has played mainly in defence this season, he has been swung forward on occasions, booting four goals in his past three matches.

Mackenzie, who has notched 20 games since making his debut in 2007, has filled a vital role in defence.

The 19-year-old has regularly taken on the opposition's key forward, combining with skipper Darren Glass to hold the fort.

West Coast refused to reveal the length of the deals but football operations manager Neale Daniher said the club was thrilled to secure the trio to another contract.

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

"Mackenzie and Brown have been terrific all season, playing mainly in defence and will continue to improve as they get more exposure to senior football.

"And in the last couple of weeks Naitanui has forced his way into the team, offering another dimension to our football.

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

Their signings come just days after coach John Worsfold penned a new two-year deal with the club.

West Coast, 12th on the ladder with a 4-9 win-loss record, tackle Melbourne at the MCG on Saturday.

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