West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui says he could have no fears when he makes his highly-anticipated AFL return in Saturday’s conflict with Hawthorn on the MCG.
Eagles coach Adam Simpson confirmed on Monday that Naitanui will likely be named in opposition to the Hawks.
Naitanui tore the ACL in his proper knee in his earlier look on the MCG – a spherical 17 win over Collingwood final yr.
The 29-year-old made a profitable enjoying return within the WAFL final Saturday, tallying 10 disposals, 25 hitouts, 4 tackles, and three marks in 64 minutes of motion.
Naitanui pulled up with the anticipated normal soreness after that sport, however it gained’t cease him from fronting the Hawks.
The 2012 All-Australian has now undergone a reconstruction on every knee, however says he holds no fears forward of his newest return.
“It might be actually thrilling to get again on the market. A sense of elation as nicely,” Naitanui mentioned.
“(The MCG) is the place I did my knee final time.
“I don’t assume I’ll have any fears of the bottom or the opposition in any respect, it is going to be extra so only a bit of pleasure to be again on the market enjoying footy.
“These guys practice me fairly exhausting behind closed doorways. Taking part in a sport might be the least of my worries.
“And getting injured in a sport – they whack me sufficient right here at coaching. So not fearful in any respect.”
Naitanui doesn’t imagine he’s misplaced any of his trademark leap, and he’s trying ahead to profiting from the AFL’s new 6-6-6 rule.
“I nonetheless assume I can soar simply in addition to previously,” Naitanui mentioned.
“My latest knee I had achieved was my proper one. I soar off my left leg, so I don’t assume it’s going to vary an excessive amount of.”
Naitanui made a shocking return from his first knee reconstruction, and hopes are excessive he can repeat that effort.
West Coast will play two ruckmen whereas Naitanui works his method again to full health, with Tom Hickey the favorite to get the nod forward of Nathan Vardy.
Naitanui signed a three-year contract extension on Sunday, tying him to the Eagles till the top of 2022.
The 161-game veteran was grateful for the present of religion from the membership, given he now has two “compromised knees”.
“I believe I’ve nonetheless bought lots of good footy forward of me,” Naitanui mentioned.
West Coast will welcome again Willie Rioli from suspension in opposition to the Hawks, however Jeremy McGovern will miss except the Eagles can efficiently overturn his one-match ban on the AFL tribunal.