Locked in: Nic Nat signs on
There had been speculation over Eagle Nic Naitanui's next contract all season. But with the deal now done, the star ruckman can concentrate on West Coast's premiership defence.
The reigning premiers today revealed Naitanui, the No.2 pick in the 2008 national draft, had signed a three-year deal to ensure he'll finish his playing days in Perth.
There had been speculation about Naitanui's new deal, given the 29-year-old's recent horrid run with injury.
But the big man put that to bed by signing on the dotted line. He can now concentrate on returning to the top level and helping the Eagles try to snare back-to-back flags.
"It's certainly a comfort to have the contract completed," Naitanui said.
"My management team has been negotiating the contract extension behind the scenes while I have been entirely focused on my return.
"I knew that was going on in the background, but for me it has been more about getting back to play footy. It's really exciting.
"The club has been very good to me throughout my career and I'm looking forward to playing my part in the second half of the season and in the coming years."
Naitanui has not played at senior level since July 15 last year, when he sustained a second torn anterior cruciate ligament.
He resumed to football on Saturday, his trademark pressure a highlight in his 10-possession hit-out for the Eagles in their WAFL win over East Fremantle.
"Obviously Nic is a really important player for us on a number of fronts, so it was important to lock him in for another three years," West Coast football manager Craig Vozzo said.
"Everyone knows what he can do on the field, but he's an integral part of everything we do.
"He is held in the highest regard by his peers and that was evident when we announced during that week the Nic would return to play this weekend. Every player on the squad knows what he has been through to get himself to this point and they are thrilled for him.
"We took a conservative approach to his recovery from a knee injury, it's pleasing that he had a good hit-out against East Fremantle and we will now build his game time and his match hardness over the back end of the season."