Worsfold impressed by Naitanui's ability - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Worsfold impressed by Naitanui's ability

13/02/2010 02:39:03 PM Comments (0)

The goals were a welcome bonus but West Coast coach John Worsfold claimed he was most impressed by Nic Naitanui's ability to contest when the chips were down in the Eagles' NAB Cup win over Essendon.

The agile ruckman played easily his best match of his short career in the 35-point win over the Bombers in the pre-season opener on Friday night.

"What he did in the first quarter, when a few of the boys were down a bit, for a young player to show that sort of leadership is what excites us," Worsfold said.

Naitanui's second and third efforts were outstanding and he led the Eagles with eight tackles - four more than the next best in Sam Butler, Chris Masten and Daniel Kerr.

Trailing by five goals midway through the second term, Naitanui kept his side in the game with his hard running.

When the Eagles responded and eventually overran Essendon in the second half, Naitanui continued to push himself, dominating ruck contests as well as chiming in with four goals.

He kicked the only nine-pointer of the night, a 50m penalty that put the Eagles back in front, while his snap from deep in the forward pocket during the second term was something normally expected of small forwards.

"What we ask from Nic is to keep developing his game," Worsfold said.

"I asked him before they ran out what he was expecting out of the game, and he reeled off two or three key things he wanted to work on.

"Where he works after a ruck contest, his running pattern, the follow up to be involved in the contest."

Worsfold said that performance exceeded expectations but added that Naitanui was still at an early stage of his career.

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