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Naitanui elevated to senior leadership group

Gary Stocks  February 6, 2018 12:30 PM

New addition to the leadership group Senior coach Adam Simpson along with Nic Naitanui speak about the latest edition to the leadership group
AFL 2018 Portraits - West Coast Eagles

Nic Naitanui has joined West Coast's six-man leadership group

Franchise ruckman Nic Naitanui has had his status at the West Coast Eagles ratified with his inclusion in the club’s leadership group.

After the club retained captain Shannon Hurn and his vice-captains Josh Kennedy and Luke Shuey, confirming those decisions a little over a week ago, confirmation came today of those players who would complete the senior leadership group.

All-Australian wingman Andrew Gaff and dual all-Australian defender Jeremy McGovern were retained, with Naitanui elevated.

“Nic has been highly regarded across all levels of the football club for a number of years,” General Manager – Football, Craig Vozzo said today.

“Even when he missed all of last season with a knee injury he was heavily invested in our program, supporting his teammates at every opportunity and offering insights from his own observations.

“He is clearly a player who commands great respect, his unique style and personality will provide a point of difference and nicely complement our senior leadership group.”

Naitanui said he was delighted to be elevated to the senior leadership group.

“It’s a really exciting time and a privilege to be in there,” he said.

“I haven’t played a lot of footy in the last 18 months, so to still be voted in by my peers to be in the leadership group is a pretty big honour.

“I think having the past year off has really improved my leadership. Obviously not being able to have an impact on the field, I’ve had to find different avenues. Finding some stuff off-field with some of the players has really built my leadership over the past couple of months and year in particular.”

Senior coach Adam Simpson said it was a good time for Naitanui to join the leadership team.

“We’re really pleased to add Nic to the leadership group,” he said.

“We’ve got a pretty established group now with Gaffy and McGovern coming in in recent years. It’s time for Nic to step up and he’s looking forward to the challenge.

“Nic’s attributes to the leadership and what we want is part of his growth that he’s developed the last two or three years with his presence on-field and his stance within the community. But really it’s a player vote as well and he’s next in line.

“We expanded the group last year when Sam Mitchell came to the club and we feel when we lose someone like Sam, and Matty Priddis, out of our group that it’s important that we continue to grow in this space and Nic’s ticking all the boxes.”