Give Naitanui a fair go: Eagles coach - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Give Naitanui a fair go: Eagles coach

By Justin Chadwick 22/07/2009 07:23:49 PM Comments (0)

Prized West Coast recruit Nic Naitanui is set to receive more protection at ball-ups after AFL umpires boss Jeff Gieschen admitted the youngster was unfairly impeded by Port Adelaide ruck duo Brendon Lade and Dean Brogan last week.

West Coast coach John Worsfold was unhappy with the treatment Naitanui received against the Power and the Eagles launched a complaint to Gieschen, who admitted the umpires failed to penalise Brogan and Lade for several clear-cut infringements.

The Power dominated the hit-outs 56-35 on the way to a 36-point win but Worsfold said Naitanui, who is renowned for his high leap, continually had his path impeded as he contested ball-ups.

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

"We've asked him (Gieschen) where it sits and asked for queries on a few centre bounces from the weekend and said 'what's the deal with that?' and Jeff has said they should have been free kicks.

"It's out of our hands in terms of how it's policed but Nic's in the very early stages in how to deal with different tactics opposition ruckmen will use against him.

"He'll overcome that in time."

Naitanui, snared with pick No.2 in last year's national draft, has only played four AFL games but is already being heavily targeted by opposition ruckmen.

In round 14, Melbourne ruckman Mark Jamar continually bashed his body into Naitanui at the ruck contests, hampering the Eagle's ability to unleash his trademark spring.

Such was the physical barrage, the 201cm, 96kg Naitanui missed the next week through injury.

Worsfold said Naitanui would learn to deal with such tactics as his experience grew and his body got stronger.

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