Should the West Coast Eagles trade Nic Naitanui?

macca Roar Rookie

By macca, macca is a Roar Rookie

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    After all the articles written this week about how terrible Carlton were last week, how they need to rebuild and how Kreuzer and Gibbs needed to be traded because ‘they haven’t come on’, I thought it might be interesting to compare them to similar players.

    For Kreuzer I chose Nic Naitanui as they are a year apart in age and just 13 games apart in experience (Kreuzer being 24-years-old with 99 games, while Naitanui is 23-years-old with 86 games).

    Kreuzer’s career stats see him average 12 disposals per game, 2.9 marks, 3.4 tackles, 17 hit outs and roughly one scoring shot per game (56 percent accuracy).

    His 2013 stats are close to the best of his career with 12 disposals, 3.6 marks, 4.1 tackles, 24.3 hit outs 1.45 scoring shots (37.5 percent accuracy).

    Compare this to Naitanui whose career stats are 12.2 disposals, 2.1 marks, 3.5 tackles, 20.4 hit outs and 1.16 scoring shots (61 percent accuracy).

    His 2013 stats are also not far of career-best with 12.1 disposals, 2.7 marks, 26 hitouts, 3.1 tackles and about 1 scoring shot (70 percent accuracy).

    As you can see these stats are very similar with Kreuzer taking the points in number of marks and tackles while Naitanui wins the hitouts and the goals scored but none of the margins are realy decisive.

    This raises the question – if Kreuzer has failed to come on is the same true of ‘Nic Nat’?

    Or is it simply that Kreuzer’s low profile and workmanlike efforts get platyed down, while Naitanui’s flashes of brilliance get over-hyped?

    As for Gibbs so far this year he is averaging 23.3 disposals, 4.4 marks, 4.5 tackles (tackling ‘machine’ Karmichael Hunt averages just 3.9) and just under one scoring shot per game (60 percent accuracy) while Trent Cotchin averages 25.4 disposals, 3.5 marks, 3.2 tackles and just 0.7 scoring shots (33.33% accuracy).

    Their career stats are also very close with Gibbs having 21.9 disposals, 5.6 marks and 3.7 tackles compare with Cotchin 22.4, 3.7 and 3.4.

    So again has Cotchin ‘failed to come on’ or is Gibbs just harshly marked?

    While I acknowledge that stats can only go so far but my main point is that people have been very quick to jump on two 24-year-olds backs simply beacuse they were number one picks ,when they are actually tracking pretty well against their peers.

    Yes they still have some development to work on but there are very few players who can dominate games early in their careers and we need to have patience with the young blokes drafted to our clubs.

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    The Crowd Says (61)

    • July 10th 2013 @ 11:59am
      mark said | July 10th 2013 @ 11:59am | ! Report

      Macca, i reckon Carlton should trade Gibbs for Karmicheal Hunt, fair trade IMO !!!, what do you reckon ?.

      • July 10th 2013 @ 4:09pm
        Andrew Colebrook said | July 10th 2013 @ 4:09pm | ! Report

        Macca as this says is statisitc are mis leading – Nic Nat is without doubt WCE most important player & arguably one of the AFL’s best players.

        • July 10th 2013 @ 4:28pm
          Macca said | July 10th 2013 @ 4:28pm | ! Report

          Slight overstatement there Andrew – he is one of the most exciting players in the AFL and has the ability to win games (the game against the blues last year over there comes to mind) but is hardly one of the best players in the AFL.

          Perceptions are misleading as well Andrew.

          • July 10th 2013 @ 5:18pm
            Andrew said | July 10th 2013 @ 5:18pm | ! Report

            mate I am an Eagles hater but Nic Nat is a champ & would be a walk up start at any AFL Club

            • July 10th 2013 @ 5:22pm
              Macca said | July 10th 2013 @ 5:22pm | ! Report

              Andrew I am not denying Naitanui’s value, I am using his value and the compably similar stats to kreuzer to query why people are calling for Kreuzer to be traded.

              • July 12th 2013 @ 11:34pm
                Jax said | July 12th 2013 @ 11:34pm | ! Report

                Why is Nic Nat ranked in the Top 10 of official AFL Player rankings and the only non-midfielder in it?

                Why was he #1 All-Australian ruckman with Cox as interchange last year?

                You’ve got your head in a book reading stats when you should have been watching him play these last 3-4 years. If you’d done that you never would have written this piece.

                His most important stat in my eyes is – he’s #1 in the AFL for setting up scoring chains ie he wins possession of the ball and WC score, he does that better than anyone in the league, never mind Kreuzer.

                Out of interest compare their contested possession stats and let us know what you find. I haven’t seen them but I’d bet Nic Nat is leading that one also.

                Wake up and smell the coffee Macca

              • July 12th 2013 @ 11:38pm
                Jax said | July 12th 2013 @ 11:38pm | ! Report

                If your genuine reason for writing this post was to find out why some people are calling for Kreuzer to be traded why did you lead with a headline asking if WC should trade Nic Naitanui?

              • July 15th 2013 @ 8:55am
                Macca said | July 15th 2013 @ 8:55am | ! Report

                As for the headline – it was designed to get people to think differently- to reassess their position – to be provactive.

                As for Nic Nat’s abilities I am fully aware of them and love watching him play but that is the whole point of the piece – Naitanui is rated as one of the best ruckmen in the league and yet is stats aren’t that different from the supposedly under-performing Kreuzer it is that contrast in perception that makes the article worth writing. It is especially interesting when the difference in style and athleticism means Kreuzer needs longer to mature and build his strength and endurance.

                Again I don’t seriously think WCE should trade Naitanui – but Carlton shouldn’t trade Kreuzer either.

    • July 10th 2013 @ 12:00pm
      Chairman Kaga said | July 10th 2013 @ 12:00pm | ! Report

      Naitanui is over-hyped and Kruezer goes unnoticed.

      Kruezer had a superb opening quarter last Friday. He murdered them. If he can keep that up he will win the Brownlow sooner or later. He just needs to keep himself healthy and it will come.

      Naitanui does the spectacular but then goes missing for weeks and does not make enough contests for what his role is supposed to be.

      Remember people, a lot of people in the press have not played the game.

      • July 10th 2013 @ 12:08pm
        mark said | July 10th 2013 @ 12:08pm | ! Report

        Nic Nat may be overhyped, but he can play the game, he is the face of the Eagles, but don’t let that fool you, Kreuzer is workmanlike, but Nic nat can do that and the brilliant.

        Deserved his AA status.

      • July 12th 2013 @ 11:43pm
        Jax said | July 12th 2013 @ 11:43pm | ! Report

        You obviously don’t watch him play week, week out or have any idea what he does and why he is so unique and valuable.

    • July 10th 2013 @ 12:00pm
      johno said | July 10th 2013 @ 12:00pm | ! Report

      Isn’t NicNat is the guy who was named at All Australian ruck last year? This is also the same bloke who features most days in the West Australian newspaper for some fluff reason or another. He is the West Coast Eagles at the moment. Their most high profile and popular player. Most ruckmen don’t start to influence games until their mid 20’s, just look at Minson’s season this year. He’s 28 and is the dominant ruckman after years of being mid range.

      If you are insane you’d trade Natanui. Who else do the Eagles have once Cox departs in a year or 2?

      Meanwhile Carlton have Warnock, Hampson, and Kruezer. One of whom should go. It is seen that Kruezer has the most currency and that Carlton are unsure if he’s a ruck or CHF. Clubs look at depth in a position when they trade.

      Gibbs may have similar stats to Cotchin, but most of his career has been on the half back flank, whereas Cotchin is a true on baller and damages opponents more with his efforts. Plus he’s the captain of the club in his first year as captain as well. He’s taking time to adjust to those responsibilities I would say (similar to Murphy)

      You trade players who don’t fit your teams style or are surplus to requirements (Broughton for Freo). Neither NicNat or Cotchin fall into those categories.

      • July 10th 2013 @ 12:50pm
        Chairman Kaga said | July 10th 2013 @ 12:50pm | ! Report

        Personally, I lay the blame about Gibb’s lack of mongrel at the feet of Brett Ratten. He played him in that bludging half back sweeper role for years. Now he has to break out of that mould. Hard to break the habits of a half back bludger. Look at Nathan Buckley, he went through a career in that role but never got around to laying a tackle or getting a grass stain on his kit the whole time. Soft.

        People need to point the finger at the 2nd/3rd tier brigade of Blue’s players. They are the trouble.

        • July 10th 2013 @ 1:10pm
          Macca said | July 10th 2013 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

          Chairman – You say Gibbs lack “mongrel” yet he out tackles Cotchin and over the past 5 weeks his tackle rate and contested ball numbers have been very impressive – we haven’t seen the best of him yet but he is definitely getting better.

      • July 10th 2013 @ 1:08pm
        Macca said | July 10th 2013 @ 1:08pm | ! Report

        Johno – CLearly you wouldn’t trade either of Cotchin or Naitanui – but that is exaclty my point. And while you can say Cotchin has played more on ball Gibbs has alos played defensive midfield roles on the likes of Goodes and Kennedy (and done well) along with playing at half back & half forward so his versatility could be seen as an advantage.

        You are also right about the time it takes for a ruckman to mature which is another reason why the blues would be stupid to get rid of clearly the best one they have. One of the trio will go but my money is on Warnock.

    • July 10th 2013 @ 12:44pm
      Jermayn said | July 10th 2013 @ 12:44pm | ! Report

      If you want to compare stats, you need to compare them properly… For example with ruckmen you need to look at taps to advantage, clearances from taps, clearances they get, were the marks are taken, are the contested etc. With midfielders are the tackles effective, are possessions/ marks contested or uncontested, were are the possessions gathered etc.

      Back to the drawing board with defending your nonperforming Blues mate.

      • July 10th 2013 @ 3:08pm
        Macca said | July 10th 2013 @ 3:08pm | ! Report

        It would be great to get those stats Jermayn – I couldn’t track them down – do you have them? Are you certain they support your view?

        • July 10th 2013 @ 3:15pm
          Jermayn said | July 10th 2013 @ 3:15pm | ! Report

          I am confident they would support Nic Nat and Cotchin being more effective than Kruezer and Gibbs but no I do not have them at hand. The point I am however making is that if you want to use stats which you have to make a point, you need to look at stats beyond the simple ‘dreamteam’ stats were ineffective and effective stats are the same.

          I think its obvious from the comments that your argument is void.

          • July 10th 2013 @ 3:18pm
            Macca said | July 10th 2013 @ 3:18pm | ! Report

            Hmmm – So basically I have no evidence to support my claim but it I believe Cotchin & Naitanui to be significantly better than Kreuzer and Gibbs and all evidence to the contrary is invaild.

            If you want to criticise the stats I use you have to provide some evidence to support your argument.

            • July 10th 2013 @ 3:30pm
              Jermayn said | July 10th 2013 @ 3:30pm | ! Report

              You mistake my point (like usual)… I am saying if you want to make an argument using stats you need to make it properly. The stats you gave are not ‘real’ stats and hence your argument is void.

              • July 10th 2013 @ 3:52pm
                Macca said | July 10th 2013 @ 3:52pm | ! Report

                The stats I used aren’t invalid or not real – they may not ell the whole story but they do provide some insight but as you don’t have any evidence you aren’t really in a position to criticise.

                I have tried to find some more stats for you but again they are limited as they only showed the top 100 in the league (and are just for 2013)

                For Contested marks Naitanui is in front of Kreuzer 1.8 per game to 1.3, Kreuzer takes 1.4 marks per game inside 50 Naitanui takes 0.8, Naitanui has 3.2 clearances Kreuzer 1.9, Kreuzer has 3.3 1 percenters per game Naitanui has 2.8, Kreuzers disposal efficiency is 60.6, Naitanui’s is 66.1%, Naitanui has 8.8 contested possessions, Kreuzer 6.3.

                I couldn’t find clearances from hit outs or hit outs to advantage but carlton rate 5th on clearances in the league with 554 and West Coast are 3rd with 569 so I wouldn’t expect much difference out of that.

                So what does that all tell you – to me again there isn’t much seperating them, Kreuzer tackles more, does more 1%er’s, and works harder around the ground (ie more uncontested marks & possessions) while Naitanui is better at clearances and contested ball (I would say becuase he is agile enough to rove his own ruckwork more).

            • July 12th 2013 @ 11:52pm
              Jax said | July 12th 2013 @ 11:52pm | ! Report

              Enough of this nonsense Macca. This post is nothing more than your personal defense of your teams players.

              Don’t embroil Nic Nat and Cotchin into your argument because they have both performed significantly better than Kreuzer and Gibbs to date. Let’s see how the next few years goes, maybe they’ll catch up who knows.

              Watch more games and read less stats

              • July 15th 2013 @ 9:04am
                Macca said | July 15th 2013 @ 9:04am | ! Report

                Jax – I watch plenty of games.

                The point of this article was to try and get people to have more of an open minded view of the situation – clearly you are incapable of that.

              • July 16th 2013 @ 9:37am
                Jax said | July 16th 2013 @ 9:37am | ! Report

                you mislead everyone Macca and that’s the main issue for me. You wasted my time – I am interested in articles about Nic Nat but I don’t give a toss about Kreuzer or his under-performing mate

                You should have named the article – Should the Blues trade Kreuzer – you probably didn’t because you knew it would not get much attention so you roped in Nic Nat and Gibbs which is ridiculous as they are both well-ahead of the other two so far in their careers and that’s a fact (not just a stat).

              • July 16th 2013 @ 9:47am
                Macca said | July 16th 2013 @ 9:47am | ! Report

                Jax – If you couldn’t tell from the first sentence what this article was about then your powers of comprehension aren’t that high.

                And if I had of titled the article the way you want it the main thrust of the point I was making would of been lost.

                “so you roped in Nic Nat and Gibbs which is ridiculous as they are both well-ahead of the other two so far in their careers and that’s a fact (not just a stat).” I assume you mean Cotchin not Gibbs (although it is misleading) but your fact is an opinion not a fact, you need to substantiate facts.

                On top of that I am not arguing that Cotchin and Naitanui aren’t ahead of Gibbs and Kreuzer but the degree to which they are ahead is in contention and I dispute that thedistance between them is as big as the “Naitanui is star Kreuzer is a dud” brigade would have you believe.

                Naitanui has ahd some very very good games, more than Kreuzer but the fact their stats settle around the same numbers indicate that Kreuzer is more consistent.

    • July 10th 2013 @ 1:21pm
      Ryan said | July 10th 2013 @ 1:21pm | ! Report

      The Kreuzer comparison is an interesting one but as you said stats can only go so far. In terms of potential and improvement, as well as ability to rip a game apart and marketing potential; this is a no brainer. Did you see the mark Nic Nat took against North? This is exactly what Kreuzer has been criticised for not doing. To trade Naitanui is ridiculous. Kreuzer is solid ruckman at AFL level but Naitanui could be anything. He is currently over-hyped, but does have a very high ceiling.

      Cotchin nearly won the brownlow last year, was All-Australian and is now captain of his club.If Cotchin hasn’t “come on”, imagine when he does. He is facing a tough year spending the majority of the time with a tag. Gibbs is solid half-back/midfield players who has not delivered on expectations. They really don’t compare.

      To say they are tracking well against there peers is somewhat fair; but these guys were no 1 picks! the best of the bunch, supposed to become elite. Unfortunately they have not and therefore criticism is justified. It really depends who you consider there “peers”…

      Gibbs vs. Selwood, Boak, Ben Reid, Jack Riewoldt – 2 club captains, All-Australian CHB and dual Coleman medallist all taken in the 12 picks following Gibbs.

      Kreuzer vs. Cotchin, Dangerfield, Rioli – All taken in the 11 picks following Kreuzer. All All-Australian last year, Mcevoy is an interesting one, taken pick 9 in the draft. A fellow ruckman. Has he developed as much as Kreuzer? probably not, but if you use your stat method his not far behind.

      Admittedly, there were worst players in there drafts; but you get the idea. Neither has “come on” like many others from the same year. They were both no 1, and have not delivered on there enormous potential to date, and therefore criticism is justified. They either need to lift or get traded for Carlton to improve.

      • July 10th 2013 @ 1:31pm
        Macca said | July 10th 2013 @ 1:31pm | ! Report

        Ryan – it isn’t fair to compare Kreuzer with those onballers in this draft – they mature at different rates. And yes Naitanui has more X Factor and can rip a game apart but the stats suggest he does this rarely at the moment. And given their rucking styles (Naitanui with his leap while Kreuzer relies more on strength and endurance) Kreuzers advantages will get greater over time as he adds bulk and a bigger tank, Naitanui’s leap will only diminish.

        And you say Cotchin has “come on” because of his year last year when really he has had one exceptional year and hasn’t maintained that standard – so far this year Gibbs is out pointing him in almost every category and has played some valuable “run with roles”.

        And yes they were number 1 picks but Cotchin & Naitanui were both number 2 – it’s hardly a massive difference – if the blues hadn’t of taken Murphy and Gibbs in the preceding drafts the may have taken Cotchin 1 – would you then judge his current performance worse and Kreuzers better?

        And obviuosly they need to life for the blues to improve – my point is they are currently improving so why shouldn’t we expect that to continue – especially in Kreuzers case.

        • July 10th 2013 @ 1:57pm
          Ryan said | July 10th 2013 @ 1:57pm | ! Report

          Although it might not be fair to compare Kreuzer with the on-ballers, its the reality of the situation. He was taken ahead of said players and simply needs to impact games more. As I mentioned, how would you rate his development against Mcevoy? That is the argument, have they got value for there no 1 picks, or just pieces of the puzzle?

          Cotchin has underperformed this year no doubt, but he did more last year that Gibbs has in his whole career. He has an exceptional year Gibbs has rarely had an exceptional game, many solid performances but not the match winner, Your no 1 draft pick who is a midfielder is not recruited to play “run with roles”. Kreuzer and Cotchin years I would say are pretty similar; Kreuzer possibly marginally in front. This is hindered by Cotchin setting such a high expectations and Kreuzer underperforming, but I thought it wasn’t fair to compare on-ballers and ruckman?

          Don’t get me wrong, I actually don’t think Gibbs or Kreuzer are bad players, but there not great players. Carlton just haven’t got enough out of them to justify there selection. They may continue to improve, but there current level should be higher; especially in the case of Gibbs. Can Carlton really build a premiership side while relying on these 2 as elite players?

          • July 10th 2013 @ 2:38pm
            Macca said | July 10th 2013 @ 2:38pm | ! Report

            You said McEvoy is slightly behind Kreuzer (which I don’t disagree with) but that stnads to reason given he went just 8 spots behind Kreuzer – going number 1 doesn’t mean you are streets ahead of other players in the top 10 it just means you were ahead when you are 18. Also McEvoy hasn’t had the injury issues Kreuzer has.

            I think you are harsh on Gibbs saying he has hardly had an outstanding game and I don’t agree with saying your number 1 pick shouldn’t be used as a run with role – Gibbs’ flexibility is one of his big assets – he can take on a Kennedy in a run with capacity or he could go forward or back on play an attacking role through the middle – he can do whatever is best for the team.

            “This is hindered by Cotchin setting such a high expectations and Kreuzer underperforming, but I thought it wasn’t fair to compare on-ballers and ruckman?” I wasn’t wanting a comparison between them I was asking if the picks were reversed would Cotchin suddenly being number 1 change your opinion of him.

            And as I said below – have a look at Hodges stats for his first 6 years.

            As for the blues ability to win a premiership with those 2 as elite players – most definitely.

      • July 10th 2013 @ 1:50pm
        Macca said | July 10th 2013 @ 1:50pm | ! Report

        Ryan – Have a look back over Luke Hodges stats for the first 6 years of this career and compare them to Gibbs.

    • Roar Guru

      July 10th 2013 @ 2:44pm
      Redb said | July 10th 2013 @ 2:44pm | ! Report

      Wishful thinking at its best.

      • July 10th 2013 @ 2:46pm
        Macca said | July 10th 2013 @ 2:46pm | ! Report

        How so?

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