There was a combination of the West Coast Eagles metro and regional academies alongside some father-son second generation academy players who all shined in what was a strong four-quarter performance from the group.

The Naitanui Academy came out of the gates strongly, booting a handful of goals in the first quarter and dominating territory with the wind on their side.

The Dockers 16’s responded in the next two quarters and put the pressure back onto the Naitanui boys who then raised their game to another level and showcased the overall talent and depth of the squad.

West Coast Eagles Game Development Manager Michael Prior was extremely impressed with the group in their first Naitanui Academy match for the year.

“It was great to see that a few little things we’ve been working on with this group over the last couple weeks of training were able to be put into play; a bit more structure stuff and some things they maybe haven’t encountered yet at their junior clubs which will be beneficial in their development going forward,” Prior said.

“The other pleasing thing about the game was that we had four boys come up from the Great Southern to play and all held their own and performed well, so we will keep looking to our regions to provide opportunities for regional boys to play in these games.

Noah Braun

“We also had two father-sons with Noah Braun (son of Michael Braun) and Harper Banfield (son of Drew Banfield) who both played really well."

Harper Banfield

Last Friday’s match was the first of two hit-outs for the 16’s in 2024, with another match against Fremantle’s NGA squad of the same age to take place later in the year.

“These boys will play a fair few games in 2024 to really showcase their ability and give themselves the best shot at taking their game to the next level,” Prior said.

“They recently played in the futures competitions for their respective WAFL clubs which was nine-weeks long and are now competing in their junior competitions, all alongside training and two games with the Naitanui Academy.

“This is a really important year for these boys as they look to move into their draft-age years and for some who display high levels of potential, moving into our High-Performance Academy next year.”