The 2-time All-Australian has taken his career to new heights in 2020.
Cementing himself as perhaps the best ruckman in the league, Nic Naitanui’s dominance at the stoppage has been awesome to behold, averaging a whopping 29.1 hit-outs per game.
Joining the club as a second-round pick in 2008, Nic Nait’s talents were immediately recognized and Naitanui was immediately thrown in at the deep end, linking up with Mark Seaby and Quinten Lynch in the ruck responsibilities.
After Seaby left the club in 2010, Naitanui stepped up to form a destructive ruck partnership with eagles legend Dean Cox. He grew into the position and was mentored by Cox, who helped Nic Nait achieve a career-high 782 hit-outs in 2015.
And the 32-year old has gone on to etch his name as a club legend, racking up 107 career goals for the West Coast and battling in the midfield to provide a solid platform to launch a score from.
But the 6’7” ruckman had to earn his legend status the hard way, overcoming an achilles injury in 2016, only to undergo two knee reconstructions that saw him miss out on the 2017 season, the 2018 premiership-winning campaign, and the best part of the 2019 season.
This season, the ruckman has never looked better, playing 17 games for the Eagles this year, scoring 5 goals, 40 tackles, and a whopping 495 hit-outs for the season.
And after perhaps his best year on record, he bested midfielder Andrew Gaff to the 2020 John Worsfold medal for the best and fairest player at the club, a deserved award for a player who fought tooth and nail this season to help the Eagles reach the finals.