Nic Naitanui contests with Todd Goldstein during the clash in round 17, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

WEST Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui says there is "no chance" anyone at the club is going to write off the season, putting the onus on the leaders to drive the team out of its on-field rut.  

The Eagles are clinging to eighth spot after three straight losses, raising questions about whether they should try to revive the season or use the final six rounds to fast-track the young players on their list. 

Naitanui, who will play his 200th game on Saturday against Adelaide, said criticism of the Eagles following Monday night's loss to North Melbourne was warranted and the team would not shy away from it. 

But he said the Eagles were committed to fighting out the season and remained a premiership contender if they could reverse their worrying form. 


"We're in the eight and we're going to fight it out," the star big man said on Wednesday. 

"We're still a chance. There's no chance anyone is going to write if off internally. 

"A few of us (senior players) are probably not playing to our full potential at the moment, and we know we can get better and what we need to do to get better. 

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"But there's only a few weeks to go and we need to get it right as soon as we can."

Naitanui said the players had gone through a range of emotions since their 10-point loss to the Kangaroos, from sadness at their performances to optimism they can turn the season around.  

Jackson Nelson after the loss to North Melbourne in round 17, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

He said the team, which has lacked chemistry and on-field discipline in recent weeks, was galvanised and committed to sticking together. 

"The guys know what we need to do and we had little glimpses of that, albeit we didn't get the result," he said.

"The guys are just sticking together. We're all in it together and we know how hard footy gets at times, especially when you're losing. 

"For us it's just about being galvanised and getting through this little period together. 

Naitanui addressed the final moments of the Kangaroos loss, which saw opposition ruckman Todd Goldstein take a mark in the goalsquare and kick the winning goal while Naitanui was stationed in the midfield. 


The 31-year-old said he had taken a risk on the Kangaroos not kicking a goal and got himself into a position to help the team score quickly on the rebound if they got the chance.   

"Any ruckman from junior level to senior level, you get back to the line," he said. 

"For me I was rolling the dice. We knew it was a late stage in the game and we thought if they missed – we were down by three or four points at that stage – then we were coming straight up the guts and I would be there to get it going. 

"Unfortunately my man took the mark down the end and kicked the goal. 

"Those are the decisions you make on game day and you have to live with them sometimes."

Asked how he reflected on his looming milestone, Naitanui said he was pleased to reach 200 games after several setbacks and surgeries. 

He said he was equally proud of his first decade as an AFL player and his past three seasons, re-establishing himself after two knee reconstructions. 

"I was pretty pleased to get my first crack at AFL level and play for West Coast and do what I did," he said. 

"But post both of my knees, just to show myself internally and mentally that I could get through some of those hardships. 

"I've had a fair bit of stuff go down in the last four to five years and I've gone through a lot of adversity. 

"To be able to play footy and still be playing footy is something I'll always hang my hat on."