If Luke Shuey and Shannon Hurn’s recent retirement announcements didn’t properly ring in the dawn of a new era for the West Coast Eagles, today is the day it becomes official with Nic Naitanui announcing his retirement effective immediately.
The West Coast Eagles ruckman has called time after 213 games in the blue-and-gold, struggling against injury over the past two seasons.
“I feel like I have exhausted every avenue to work my way through my injury, but my body is sending a strong message that it is time,” said Naitanui.
“You never want this day to come, but it always does and I’m content in the knowledge that I have given it everything.”
Arguably one of the Eagles’ most influential players since his debut right up until he won back-to-back John Worsfold medals in 2020 and 2021, Naitanui retires with three All Australian jumpers.
“Being a power athlete who has relied on my ability to jump throughout my career this injury was probably going to take that away from me…
“I am also looking at a lengthy rehabilitation from my latest surgery and there are no guarantees of making it back to AFL level even if everything goes to plan. I have given it a lot of thought in the last few weeks and this is the best decision for the club, myself and my family.”
Along with his most recent injury setbacks, Naitanui had to overcome two knee reconstructions along with a range of others over the journey.
“Nic has been a legacy player for our football club and has been one of the most influential players of his generation,” said coach Adam Simpson.
“Sadly, he is the third club great to retire in the last three weeks. In some respects it is the end of an era and we will certainly miss Nic… There have been few ruckman in history to have a bigger impact on the game and he will always hold a special place in the history of the club.”
Image Credit: West Coast Eagles