Should the West Coast Eagles trade Nic Naitanui?

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A healthy Nic Naitanui is crucial for the West Coast Eagles. (Photo: Lachlan Cunningham/AFL Media)

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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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