Naitanui looks to repeat dose for Eagles - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Naitanui looks to repeat dose for Eagles

By Justin Chadwick 02/07/2009 06:56:32 PM Comments (0)

Nic Naitanui's first task in the AFL was to go out and "hit" a bloke.

"I remember (Richmond's) Daniel Jackson was getting into (Daniel) Kerr a bit and playing a tagging role and the word when I came off the bench was to go and hit that tagger," Naitanui said.

"They said 'if you want to be a part of the team you've got to do the one-percenters as well', so I think the first thing I did was run out there and give Jackson a little bump.

"After that they said 'just keep doing the hard stuff'.

"Josh Kennedy laid a few good hits and I just thought yeah, it's real now."

Naitanui, with his frizzy dreadlocks and freakish ability, has already reached cult hero status at West Coast - after just two games.

His match-winning three-goal burst in the final quarter against Hawthorn last week thrust him well and truly into the spotlight, but Naitanui played down his role in the win.

"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 told the West Coast website.

"Our ruck coach (Dean Irving) 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."

Naitanui, snared with pick No.2 in last year's national draft, re-signed with the club last week and said he had set his sights on a long career at the Eagles.

"I don't want to go anywhere else so I was just waiting to get it signed," Naitanui said.

"We've been talking about it for a while and I definitely didn't want to go interstate."

Naitanui praised midfielder Matt Priddis for taking him under his wing and showing him the ropes.

But it's four-time All-Australian ruckman Dean Cox who has shown Naitanui how to improve his ruck talent.

"I usually link up with Seabs (Mark Seaby) when we're training and Coxy will have an input as well," Naitanui said.

"He (Cox) didn't train last week, so he just sat in the stand and watched me train all week and he gave me feedback.

"He was always someone I wanted to be like, so coming here was like a dream come true."

While Naitanui has already stolen the back page headlines, it doesn't get him out of doing the chores at home.

"... My family keeps me down to earth - you've still got to wash the dishes and you've still got to take the rubbish out," he said.

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