Critics Are Off The Mark, Says Nic Naitanui
Nic Naitanui is used to the criticism that abounds regarding his lack of marks. It doesn’t bother him at all, as his team is expecting him to do the ruck work. This great West Coast star is always an influence and a contributing factor for his team. His personal statistics don’t clearly show it, but […]
Nic Naitanui is used to the criticism that abounds regarding his lack of marks. It doesn’t bother him at all, as his team is expecting him to do the ruck work.
This great West Coast star is always an influence and a contributing factor for his team. His personal statistics don’t clearly show it, but his impact is always felt whenever he’s there in the game.
In his seven games this season, he has only had six marks that ranked him at the lowly 445th in the AFL. Far below other notable ruckmen like Fremantle’s Zac Clarke and Aaron Sandilands, who have 15 and 14 respectively under their names.
He said hearing the question of when he’ll take another mark is a common thing for him. He replied that he’s different from the other ruckmen. He’s more on the follow-up thing, the hit outs and the tackling. These are where he concentrates his game and takes pride in doing it.
Being able to do his share is enough to bring fulfillment. Complimenting team mates like Mat Priddis, Luke Shuey and Chris Masten makes Naitanui happy. He still continues to persevere and work hard during training, particularly on his marking. His coach Adam Simpson has designed some plays for him to have that ball sometime in the game.
He said maybe playing more up in the ground would let him have more kicks, that can translate into goals. He’s not in any way pressured and disgruntled. Anyway, as long as they are winning, he’ll just do the same thing. He’ll just keep on trying to improve, but when the chance to score goals presents itself then he’ll take it.
He added, that much of the success of his Eagle team now has something to do with their midfield group. They have increased in size and strength. Their midfielders improvement has really been tremendous. The team’s doing great that after seven rounds, they are seated comfortably in second.
Crediting his team mates, Naitanui said that young players on his team are now playing like men. They are now quick on their feet, especially the young Dom Sheed and others like Shuey and Masten.
With the vast improvements of most of its team members, it’s only now that they are reaping the fruits. The future looks brighter for the Eagles team and they are out to prove that they are title contenders in the AFL.