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'Nothing changes' if Nic Nat's season is over

Testing times after injuries and illness Footy Feed with Matt Thompson, Nat Edwards and Mitch Cleary
Nic Naitanui may have ruptured the ACL in his 'good' right knee - AFL,West Coast Eagles,Nic Naitanui,Luke Shuey
Nic Naitanui may have ruptured the ACL in his 'good' right knee

LUKE Shuey is crossing his fingers for good news about Nic Naitanui but insists West Coast's flag hopes won't be derailed if the star ruckman has ruptured the ACL in his 'good' right knee.

The Eagles blew Collingwood away at the MCG in the second half without Naitanui on Sunday, leapfrogging the Pies into second spot on the ladder with a rousing victory. 

It was a bittersweet feeling post-match for West Coast, with expectations that Naitanui would be sidelined for the rest of this season and possibly all of 2019.  

West Coast is yet to reveal the result of Naitanui's scans on Monday morning but the club fears the worst.

NIC NAT DONE? Fears for star Eagle's 'good' ACL

"We'd be shattered for him (Naitanui), but in terms of our season, nothing changes," Shuey said. 

"Scotty Lycett did a terrific job yesterday in the second half and had to carry a huge workload against arguably the best ruckman in the competition (Brodie Grundy), or one of, so Scotty is coming along in leaps and bounds this year.

"If things don't work out for Nic, really excited to see what Scotty can do."

Despite the likelihood of another long stint out of the game, Naitanui tried to be upbeat following the Eagles' massive road win. 

"He was great. He's always good. He's a tough unit, he put on a brave face," Shuey said.  

"He was obviously a bit ginger and sore, but he's a great clubman, he wanted to be in good spirits.  

"We'd had a great win, so he didn't want to bring the mood down at all."

 

Naitanui spent 19 months on the sidelines after his left knee was reconstructed following an awkward landing against Hawthorn in round 22, 2016.

The 201cm star only just made it back for round one against Sydney after an arduous rehabilitation and has quickly shown how valuable he is by turbocharging West Coast's midfield this season. 

"He worked extremely hard. It was a longer road than most, and no ACL is easy to come back from but he had his troubles along the way," Shuey said. 

"Hopefully he doesn't have to go through it all again.

"He's huge (for us) and I think, if I'm honest, you're probably better off asking opposition what impact he has more so than his teammates.

"We get used to him every week, maybe we underappreciate him after a while.

"I'm sure coming up against him every week is a daunting task.

"He's a spiritual leader for us out there. He can get 21 guys going off one act – that's a pretty special trait to have."