Naitanui denies lack of effort v Kangaroos

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West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui has revealed his decision not to follow Todd Goldstein to the goal square in Monday night's loss to North Melbourne was a tactical move rather than a lack of effort.

With the Eagles trailing by four points and just over three minutes remaining on the clock, Goldstein pushed forward and took a big contested mark.

Naitanui was more than 50 metres away at the time, with the subsequent goal to Goldstein sealing a shock 10-point win for the Kangaroos and consigning West Coast to its third straight loss.

Fans and expert commentators were quick to criticise Naitanui for not following his man to the goal square at such a critical point in the match.

But Naitanui said it was a tactical call.

"Any ruckman from junior level to senior level, you get back to the (goal) line," Naitanui said.

"But for me I was rolling the dice. We knew it was a late stage in the game. We were down by four points, so if they missed we were coming straight up the guts and I'd be there to get it going.

"Unfortunately my man took the mark and kicked the goal. Those are the decisions you make on game day and you have to live with them."

Naitanui will celebrate his 200-game milestone in Sunday's clash with the Crows at Adelaide Oval.

The eighth-placed Eagles (8-8) have been written off as premiership fancies following losses to the Bulldogs (55 points), Sydney (92 points), and North Melbourne (10 points).

But Naitanui is adamant they can still win the flag, and says they will be aiming for the same goal next year as well.

"We're still in the eight. We're still a chance," Naitanui said.

"People can write us off. People have been writing us off for a long time. People have been writing me off for a long time, and I'm still sitting here. I'm going to do everything I can.

"I know guys shy away from talking about premierships, but you've still got Andrew Gaff, Brad Sheppard, and Naitanui in that team who still want what three quarters of that team have got.

"There's no way we're writing off this year (or) next year. We still want to get it done."

Naitanui is averaging a career-high 15.3 possessions and 6.9 clearances per game this season, and is a chance to land his third All-Australian jersey.

Not bad for a 31-year-old who has undergone two knee reconstructions.

"I'm pretty proud to be able to make it there," Naitanui said of game No.200.

"I've had a lot of surgeries in my time - my shoulders, my knees, and everything in between.

"It's been tough. It's been a long journey. I've seen guys that I started my career with or who have come in later get to this milestone before me."

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