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Naitanui signs on: ruckman to remain an Eagle until 2019

Jennifer Phelan  May 21, 2014 1:29 PM

Naitanui re-signs with the Eagles Ruckman Nic Naitanui re-signs with the Eagles for another five years
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Nic Naitanui is set to stay with the Eagles until at least 2019

WEST COAST ruckman Nic Naitanui has signed a five-year contract extension, tying him to the Eagles until at least the end of 2019.

The 24-year-old All Australian spoke emphatically two days ago of his desire not to leave the club when his current contract finished at the end of this year.

Is Nic Naitanui any good?

After growing up in Midvale as an Eagles' fan, Naitanui said it was a relief to get the contract signed, despite stating this week its unresolved nature had not been a distraction. 
 
"It's great to sign a new contract, which allows me to now just concentrate on playing footy," Naitanui said on Wednesday.
 
"As I said the other day, I have from the very start of this said I was not going to go anywhere.
 
"The West Coast Eagles is my home. The club has been good to me from the time I got here and I love it here. It's like family.
 
"I thoroughly enjoy being a part of the playing group and I reckon we are getting close to real success. 
 
"I want to be around that because I feel like we are building."

"[The Eagles] have looked after me my whole career and it's somewhere I want to stay for the rest of my career."

The exciting big man, taken with pick No.2 overall in the 2008 NAB AFL Draft, has struggled with form this year after a limited pre-season.

His troubles with an ongoing groin injury have also been well documented, as have his battles with an Achilles problem.

At his best, Naitanui's high leap and strong marking ability have made him a player the Eagles believe to be worth such a lengthy deal.

In 2012, he led the Eagles for contested marks and kicked 24 goals, which led to All Australian selection.

Naitanui is part of one of the more formidable ruck combinations in the competition, along with six-time All Australian Dean Cox, and emerging big men Scott Lycett and Callum Sinclair.
 
Football manager Craig Vozzo said the Eagles had always believed they would secure their man.
 
"We were always confident that Nic would commit to the club because he is a loyal person who has a great rapport with the rest of the squad," Vozzo said.
 
"It has taken a while to finalise negotiations because there are a number of things to work through, including the community commitments that Nic is so passionate about.
 
"As a young 201cm ruckman, we believe we are yet to see the best of Nic Naitanui and we are excited that he will continue to evolve his career at West Coast.
 
"He is a quality individual as well as an outstanding player and has won enormous respect in his time at the club."

Twitter: @AFL_JenPhelan