I'm not fazed by critics: Eagles ruckman - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

I'm not fazed by critics: Eagles ruckman

By Justin Chadwick 09/08/2010 05:51:38 PM Comments (0)

West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui isn't fazed by recent criticism, claiming most has been dished out by people who don't understand the rigours of the AFL.

Naitanui started the season in a blaze of glory and was a hot favourite to win the Rising Star award before a drop in form drew critics from the woodwork.

But the 20-year-old appears to have been a victim of unrealistic expectations, with this season's average of 12 disposals and 17 hit-outs a game better than he achieved last year.

Naitanui said he understood why the critics were quick to pounce after his drop in form but felt some of their assessments didn't take into account his early stage of development.

"They don't really understand how hard it is for some of the boys 18, 19 (years old) being out there and having to do what they do," Naitanui said on Monday.

"I don't know how you can educate them.

"You don't really pay too much attention to the criticism.

"You do see it, you do know it's there, but not many people realise you're in your second year.

"They think you've been there longer or should be doing this or that.

"But it comes with the job I guess, everyone has their opinion and you've just got to deal with it.

"I don't really worry about my feelings (getting hurt)."

Naitanui said he and fellow young players would suffer if they got caught up in the criticism.

"You see boys like Stephen Hill on the weekend copped a bit of criticism, but I think we're all going to get it, we expect it," Naitanui said.

"Woosh (coach John Worsfold) said downstairs that nothing's ever handed to you and nothing comes easy.

"You can't use that (age) as an excuse, if you want to be out there on the field playing with men you've got to take it like men."

Naitanui said the team was upset and angry over how West Coast's season had panned out and were keen to notch a win in Saturday's clash with Port Adelaide.

Power ruckman Dean Brogan has attempted to monster Naitanui in the past and the young Eagle said he expected nothing different on Saturday.

But sledging won't be part of Naitanui's attempt to win the contest.

"Our ruck coach gave us a bit of background on some of the players, he looks into it to sledge," Naitanui said.

"But I'm not one to sledge, I just want to beat them at the contest. You'd rather hurt them tackling them than with words."

While Brogan would send shudders through most opposition players, Naitanui's biggest fear at the moment is keeping his treasured hair.

"They (my teammates) are planning something. Lynchy might hold me down," Naitanui said with a laugh.

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