West Coast have taken the punt that Nic Naitanui’s groin problems are behind him by re-signing the star ruckman on a five-year deal.
The deal, believed to be worth in the vicinity of $800,000 per season, means Naitanui will remain at the Eagles until he’s at least 29.
The 24-year-old has always said he wants to remain an Eagle for life, but groin issues over the past 18 months had cast doubt over his durability.
Naitanui says he’s now feeling the best he has all year, and is looking forward to concentrating on football after getting his contract sorted.
“As I said the other day, I have from the very start of this said I was not going to go anywhere,” Naitanui said.
“The West Coast Eagles is my home. The club has been good to me from the time I got here and I love it here. It’s like family.
“I thoroughly enjoy being a part of the playing group and I reckon we are getting close to real success. I want to be around that because I feel like we are building.”
Football manager Craig Vozzo said the club was delighted to re-sign a player of the quality of Naitanui, who was an All-Australian in 2012.
“As a young, 201cm ruckman, we believe we are yet to see the best of Nic Naitanui and we are excited that he will continue to evolve his career at West Coast,” Vozzo said.
“He is a quality individual as well as an outstanding player and has won enormous respect in his time at the club.”
The Eagles are also in negotiations with wingman Matt Rosa about a contract extension.