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Nic Nat soars high as Betts caps big season with goal of the year win

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 28: Nic Naitanui and Elle Demasi during the West Coast Eagles 2015 Brownlow Medal dinner at Crown Perth, Perth, Australia on September 28, 2015. (Photo by Will Russell/AFL Media)
Eagle Nic Naitanui, pictured with partner Elle Demasi, has won the 2015 Mark of the Year

EXCITING ruckman Nic Naitanui has made a flying start to West Coast's Grand Final week, winning the Weet-Bix Mark of the Year at the Brownlow medal count on Monday night.

The high-leaping ruckman beat St Kilda's Josh Bruce and Melbourne's Jeremy Howe to take out the honour for his astonishing leap against Geelong in round nine at Domain Stadium.

Naitanui might be criticised at times for not taking enough grabs, but when he does, he does it like no other, and used three pretty big men as step ladders - teammate Callum Sinclair and Cats Jared Rivers and Mark Blicavs – to send the Eagles fans into a frenzy during the 56-point win.

The Eagle was controversially overlooked for the All Australian team this year, and wasn't present at the count as West Coast players remained in Perth preparing for Saturday's showdown against Hawthorn, with Naitanui a vital cog in coach Adam Simpson's Grand Final plans.

While Naitanui's aerial work was rewarded, it was Adelaide's ground level specialist Eddie Betts who took the spotlight when the All Australian was awarded the 2015 Coates Hire Goal of the Year.

The former Blue kicked a career-high 63 goals for the season and quite frankly could have won the award with plenty of them, but it was a special effort against Fremantle in round nine that earned him the nod over Docker Nat Fyfe and Geelong's Jordan Murdoch.

Betts made the right forward pocket his own at Adelaide Oval after crossing to the Crows at the end of the 2013 season, but it was a left foot barrel from the opposite side of the ground, where the boundary line meets the 50m, that claimed him the prize.


The 28-year-old was a major factor in an emotional season for the Crows, where they won their first final against the Western Bulldogs before going down to the Hawks a week later.