Naitanui party tricks kill off AFL Lions
Brisbane coach Michael Voss admits he felt helpless as Nic Naitanui and company inspired West Coast to a thumping 98-point AFL win at Patersons Stadium on Sunday.
Naitanui was simply unstoppable in the 28.7 (175) to 12.5 (77) rout, taking three speccy marks to go with his 15 possessions, three goals and 36 hitouts.
The 22-year-old was as dominant in the air as he was at ground level and he had plenty of helpers as Jack Darling (five goals), Andrew Gaff (30 possessions), Luke Shuey (10 clearances) and Beau Waters (30 disposals) joined the party.
West Coast set up the win with a seven-goals-to-two opening term.
But it was the last quarter where they became utterly ruthless, piling on 11 goals to make the result an ugly one for Brisbane.
“That’s where you do feel pretty helpless as a coach, where you want to do something, try to help, but what you’re doing is just not working,” Voss said.
“That’s where the party tricks start to come out. It’s hard to stop when a team’s up and going.”
Among Naitanui’s many highlights was an excellent running goal in the final quarter, with the 201cm excitement machine fending off 183cm speedster Todd Banfield before sprinting 30m to kick truly.
But it was his aerial feats that had the 35,767 fans on their feet.
“They’d kick it long and Naitanui would jump over eight (players) and take a mark,” Brisbane midfielder Dayne Zorko said.
Naitanui took two pack marks in the first quarter alone and added another dazzling speccy in the second quarter while resting up forward.
Brisbane midfielder Dayne Zorko said Naitanui never once boasted about his array of tricks.
“He didn’t say a word all day. I didn’t hear him once,” Zorko said, before Voss added: “If you can do that, you don’t need to say anything.”
But it was far from all good news for the Eagles, who will be sweating on injuries to ruckman Dean Cox (ankle) and midfielder Daniel Kerr (hamstring), plus the report of skipper Darren Glass.
Glass, running from the opposite direction, jumped off the ground and delivered a crunching high bump on Jonathan Brown as the Brisbane skipper attempted to mark a ball.
In fairness to Glass, the veteran defender only turned his body at the last second in an attempt to protect himself.
But it probably won’t be enough to save him from suspension, although his five-year good record will reduce any potential suspension by 25 per cent.
Cox played out the match despite landing awkwardly in a ruck contest during the second quarter, but Kerr was subbed out early in the third term after his hamstring tightened.
Eagles coach John Worsfold said he would have to wait and see how they pulled up before determining their availability for Saturday’s western derby against Fremantle.© AAP 2013
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