untung99.biz: Nic Naitanui West Coast Eagles great announces early retirement despite being contracted for next year

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West Coast star Nic Naitanui has confirmed his early retirement, with the superstar saying he can’t push his body any further amid the Achilles injury that’s forced him to pull the pin on his illustrious career.

Naitanui hasn’t played a game this season and had recent surgery which instantly cast doubts over whether he could fulfil his contract for 2024. The athletic big man openly talked about his desire to be healthy for his family during West Coast’s derby lunch on Friday, in a sign of how his life has changed.

“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,” Naitanui said.

Camera IconNaitanui watching the Matildas ahead of the western derby on Saturday. Credit: Paul Kane/Getty Images

“You never want this day to come, but it always does and I’m content in the knowledge that I have given it everything.

“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.

Camera IconNaitanui retires with 213 games to his name. Credit: Quinn Rooney/via AFL Photos

“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.”

The second pick in the 2008 national draft, Naitanui became a human highlight reel and his ability to leap over opposition ruckmen and give his teammates first use of the ball helped to turn West Coast into a powerhouse.

Camera IconNaitanui playing for Swan Districts in 2008. Credit: Sharon Smith/WA News

He was just as dangerous at ground level, where his tackling was brutal. And while he wasn’t known for his marking, the ones he did take were usually spectacular.

Now 33, Naitanui has struggled with injury throughout his entire career. He has had two knee reconstructions and one of those cost him the chance to play in the 2018 premiership.

He will finish his career on 213 games with three All-Australian selections and two club championships.

Camera IconNaitanui in action last year. Credit: Daniel Carson/AFL Photos

His retirement follows captain Luke Shuey and former skipper Shannon Hurn announcing they won’t be playing on next season. It’s another significant changing of the guard for West Coast who are on the bottom of the ladder and lost the western derby by 101 points on Saturday night.

Eagles coach Adam Simpson said Naitanui would be remembered for having a huge impact on the game.

“Nic has been a legacy player for our football club and has been one of the most influential players of his generation,” Simpson said.

Camera IconAdam Simpson and Nic Naitanui on the track. Credit: Jackson Flindell/The West Australian

“In some respects it is the end of an era and we will certainly miss Nic. In the last couple of years when he has been limited in the amount of games he has played his impact around the group has remained significant.

“There have been few ruckmen in history to have a bigger impact on the game and he will always hold a special place in the history of the club.”

Eagles chief executive Trevor Nisbett praised Naitanui’s “unique skill set” but also singled out his work away from the footy field.

“Nic has been a wonderful contributor for our football club, both on and off the field,” he said.

Camera IconNaitanui celebrates a goal in 2012. Credit: Will Russell/AFL Media

“While we were treated to some extraordinary on-field highlights across his career, he was also a wonderful ambassador for our club and the game.

“His work in the community and as an AFL multicultural ambassador has been exceptional.”

Naitanui is set to speak in front of teammates and club staff at Eagles HQ at 3.45pm on Monday afternoon, marking the third all-of-club retirement press conference in the past fortnight.