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SportEagles hopeful for some Nic Nat AFL magic

01:36  05 september  2019
01:36  05 september  2019 Source:   msn.com

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West Coast will be hoping Nic Naitanui has lost none of his magic when the star ruckman returns in Thursday night's elimination final against Essendon. The Eagles feared Naitanui's season was over when he suffered a syndesmosis ankle injury in the round 17 loss to Collingwood. But the 29-year-old

Nic Nat was fuming and dumped the Bombers midfielder to the deck, sparking a scuffle which saw both players reported by the field umpire. West Coast forward Josh Kennedy booted four goals and Nic Naitanui weaved his magic in the ruck to help lift the Eagles to a 55-point elimination final win.

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West Coast will be hoping Nic Naitanui has lost none of his magic when the star ruckman returns in Thursday night's elimination final against Essendon.

The Eagles feared Naitanui's season was over when he suffered a syndesmosis ankle injury in the round 17 loss to Collingwood.

But the 29-year-old has been given the green light to resume against the Bombers, with Naitanui to team with Tom Hickey in a powerful ruck combination.

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West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui will make his AFL return on Saturday when he fronts up against the Hawks at the MCG. The Eagles could also argue the fact the shove shouldn't have been graded as "high" contact. West Coast will be boosted by the return of goalsneak Willie Rioli from suspension.

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Naitanui has missed the past three finals series courtesy of two knee reconstructions.

Just how well he can perform following his recent ankle injury remains an unknown, but history suggests he can fire from the outset.

Naitanui made stunning returns from his two knee reconstructions.

In his three games this season, Naitanui averaged 31 hitouts and 6.7 clearances per match despite being on limited game time.

Naitanui will again be on limited minutes when he makes his latest return, but the Eagles hope he will have maximum impact when he's on the ground.

Essendon assistant coach Hayden Skipworth said it would be a major challenge for Bombers big man Tom Bellchambers to counter Naitanui and Tom Hickey in the ruck.

"Tommy's going to have to really hold his own, and our mids are going to have to be well on their game to compensate for Naitanui's athleticism and hitout dominance," Skipworth said.

West Coast v Essendon: Nic Naitanui and Zach Merrett get into it near the boundary

West Coast v Essendon: Nic Naitanui and Zach Merrett get into it near the boundary Nic Naitanui and Zach Merrett may face sanction over an incident that saw players from both teams get into it right in front of the fans in the front row.

Mixed emotions following the Round 17 AFL match between West Coast Eagles and Collingwood, with the Eagles losing Nic Naitanui to another ACL knee injury

The Eagles analysed Naitanui's scans on Tuesday, and are hopeful he won't need surgery. Nic Naitanui gets tackled by Brodie Grundy during the Eagles ' clash with the Magpies Paul Kane/Getty Images. Even though some of the injuries haven't occurred at the stadium itself, the clubs believe

The Eagles made three changes for Thursday's match, bringing in veteran trio Naitanui, Will Schofield, and Mark Hutchings.

Swingman Oscar Allen was forced out because of knee soreness, while Jack Petruccelle and Liam Duggan were axed.

West Coast named skipper Shannon Hurn after he overcame a recent hamstring injury.

Essendon welcome back skipper Dyson Heppell (foot), Cale Hooker (illness), Orazio Fantasia (hip) and Jake Stringer (hamstring).

Defender Michael Hurley has been named despite dislocating his shoulder less than two weeks ago.

Michael Hartley, Tom Jok, Josh Begley, and Dylan Clarke were all dropped, while Martin Gleeson goes out with a calf injury.

Essendon haven't won a final since 2004, and the heat is on coach John Worsfold to break that drought.

Worsfold is contracted until the end of next season, but rumours are bubbling he could be axed if Essendon lose to the Eagles.

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Eagles highlight reel Nic Naitanui soars over the pack.

First Goal Ever: Dusty in No.36, baulks to a beauty. AFL . PagesBusinessesSport & recreationSports LeagueAFLVideosNic Nat gets Eagles off to a flier.

Pictures: The greatest moments in AFL history

Eagles hopeful for some Nic Nat AFL magic
Eagles hopeful for some Nic Nat AFL magic
Eagles hopeful for some Nic Nat AFL magic
Eagles hopeful for some Nic Nat AFL magic
Eagles hopeful for some Nic Nat AFL magic
Eagles hopeful for some Nic Nat AFL magic
Eagles hopeful for some Nic Nat AFL magic
Eagles hopeful for some Nic Nat AFL magic
Eagles hopeful for some Nic Nat AFL magic
Eagles hopeful for some Nic Nat AFL magic
Eagles hopeful for some Nic Nat AFL magic
Eagles hopeful for some Nic Nat AFL magic
Eagles hopeful for some Nic Nat AFL magic
Eagles hopeful for some Nic Nat AFL magic
Eagles hopeful for some Nic Nat AFL magic
Eagles hopeful for some Nic Nat AFL magic
Eagles hopeful for some Nic Nat AFL magic
Eagles hopeful for some Nic Nat AFL magic
Eagles hopeful for some Nic Nat AFL magic
Eagles hopeful for some Nic Nat AFL magic
Eagles hopeful for some Nic Nat AFL magic
Eagles hopeful for some Nic Nat AFL magic
Eagles hopeful for some Nic Nat AFL magic
Eagles hopeful for some Nic Nat AFL magic
Eagles hopeful for some Nic Nat AFL magic
Eagles hopeful for some Nic Nat AFL magic
Eagles hopeful for some Nic Nat AFL magic
Eagles hopeful for some Nic Nat AFL magic
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