NIC NAITANUI's ruck work is the best it has ever been, according to West Coast midfielder Luke Shuey.
The star ruckman delivered 15 of his 37 hit-outs to advantage in the Eagles' 53-point win over St Kilda at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
Shuey was a major beneficiary of Naitanui's work, effecting nine clearances, including four from centre bounces, to go with 28 disposals and a goal.
Naitanui said last week he had heard plenty of noise about his lack of marks this year but he said he was more focused on delivering hits to advantage for his midfielders.
Shuey said Naitanui's ruck work had been superb so far this season and a key reason for the Eagles' blistering form.
"We don't really worry about what gets said about him outside our clubrooms," he said.
"We're really happy with how he's going. His ruck work is the best it's been in a long time, probably ever. So I'm just happy I'm roving to him.
"I think outside people probably judged him a bit unfairly. He has had a shocking run with his body. He hardly got any minutes into him over pre-seasons for a number of years.
"He finally had a good run at it this year and he's fit and up and going, which makes our job a hell of a lot easier."
There were plenty of question marks surrounding the Eagles' midfielders coming into the season but they have delivered some exceptional performances over recent weeks to help the Eagles to five straight wins.
Shuey said there was no magic formula to the midfield success. He said it was simply a case of hard work paying dividends.
"The young kids are developing pretty quickly, which is always nice," Shuey said.
"We've got one of the best ruckmen in the competition giving us first use of the ball most weeks so a lot of things have fallen into place for us.
"But I think the underlying thing is just hard work and we've got to try and sustain for the rest of the year."
Despite sitting second on the ladder, Shuey said the Eagles could not afford to rest on their laurels with matches against Geelong, North Melbourne, Essendon and Richmond over the next month.
"It's a pretty tough month," Shuey said.
"(We) don't want to look too far ahead but Richmond beat Port Adelaide yesterday. North Melbourne (is) always there around the mark as well, so it is going to be an interesting four games for us.
"Simmo (Adam Simpson) said in the press conference after the game that the competition hasn't really settled yet.
"I think after the next four weeks we'll get a better idea of where teams are going to sit towards the back end of the year."
The Eagles are gunning for six wins in a row for the first time since 2012 when they host Geelong at Domain Stadium on Sunday afternoon.