Nic Naitanui

AFANA AFL Power Poll Round 17
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By Boris Kilpatrick, special to AFANA from Australia

The AFANA AFL 2016 Finals Preview
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Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA

So, who wins it all? In what looks to be the most open finals series for some time, you could mount a solid argument for six teams that could potentially take out the 2016 premiership. Read on for my take on who can win the Aussie rules championship in 2016 and why – and my pick for the two teams that will meet in the biggest AFL match of the year on October 1st.

I’ll start in reverse order of regular season finish, from eighth to top spot.

Eagles Knock Hawks From Top Spot
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Chris Kowald reporting for AFANA from Domain Stadium Perth, Australia.

The clash between the Eagles and the Hawks at Domain Stadium was always going to be a game when one side suffered a setback. The Hawks were on top of the competition and needed to win to stay there. The Eagles were hoping to earn a highly valued home final. Something had to give.

Eagles Subdue Suns
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Chris Kowald reporting for AFANA from Domain Stadium Perth, Australia

The Gold Coast Suns’ last visit to Domain Stadium was early in the season when they defeated the Dockers. Their trip west this time was much tougher. The injury depleted Suns knew they were in for a tough game and West Coast were at full strength. An Aboriginal Dancer leaves the ground after performing during indigenous round. Photo by David Woodley for AFANA.The pregame featured celebrations of the aboriginal tradition of Dreamtime as it was Indigenous Week in the AFL.

Eagles Feast on Saints
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Chris Kowald reporting for AFANA from Domain Stadium in Perth, Australia

There are two types of West Coast Eagles. One is powerful and merciless and will quickly destroy any intruder that dares to enter its territory.Eagles players sing the club song after their big win over the Saints during Round 8. Photo by David Woodley for AFANA. The other - offers meek resistance and is easily brought down to earth. The aggressive species controls Domain Stadium. The other is only seen east of the Nullabor plain.

Eagles Prey on Magpies
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Chris Kowald reporting for AFANA from Domain Stadium Perth, Australia.

The long trip west is not one most Victorian teams look forward to, particularly after a six-day break. More often than not, the visiting teams return home looking more like road kill than prime meat. This week it was the Collingwood Magpies' turn to be hit by the hometown juggernaut, West Coast.Collingwoods American recruit Mason Cox gets a handball away during the first quarter of the match against West Coast in Perth. David Woodley for AFANA.

Eagles Put Dockers Season On the Ropes
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Chris Kowald reporting for AFANA from Domain Stadium, Perth, Australia

In a prize fight between two of last year's contenders, shown live across the USA on Fox Sports 1, the West Coast Eagles have left a battered Fremantle reeling on the ropes. Natanui Wins the Tap. Photo by David Woodley for AFANA.For the first ten minutes the two teams pushed and probed defenses, but neither could score effectively. Fremantle adopted the more defensive stance as their midfielders missed early targets, and gave West Coast's talented group of Luke Shuey, Matt Priddis and Andrew Gaff opportunities to launch seven of the first ten first attacks. 

Relentless Eagles Send Message East
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by Chris Kowald, reporting for AFANA from Perth, Australia

Natanui Wins the First Bounce in the Round 1 Eagles vs Lions match in Australian Football. Photo  by David Woodley for AFANAWest Coast Eagles sent a powerful message east. From the first bounce, when Nick Naitanui flew over opposing ruckman, Stefan Martin, it was clear that the Eagles would not be dispensing Easter cheer. Brisbane though were not to be denied, Tom Rockliff was back to his best, as he showed his young charges how to draw first blood, with a goal at the three–minute mark. The Eagles responded a minute later by kicking long into the forward line.

Eagles Stun Hawks and Advance to Preliminary Final
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Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Domain Stadium, Perth

Hawthorn succumbed to the fierce pressure of the West Coast Eagles in the Second Qualifying final at Domain Stadium. Normally the composed Hawks show silky smooth skills and rarely panic with the ball. All their usual composure went out the window as this game unfolded and the Eagles took the Hawks apart.Callum Sinclair and Nic Naitanui celebrate a win over the Hawks. Photo by David Woodley for AFANA.

It started as a battle of the defenses with both sides up against tough opposition as they tried to advance the ball. Hawthorn was kicking with the aid of a monster wind in the first quarter but could only manage two goals.

Eagles Tune Up For Finals
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Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Domain Stadium, Perth

American Jason Holmes battles with Nic Naitanui of the Eagles during a Round 21, 2015 matchup. Photo by Dave Woodley for AFANA. The West Coast Eagles secured second position on the Premiership Ladder (AFL standings) with a double chance and home Finals after an old-fashioned belting of St Kilda at Domain Stadium in Round 23, the final round of the regular season. The Saints looked set to recover after absorbing a couple of opening round barrages with West Coast scoring four goals before the Saints had even heard the last echoes of the opening siren. The Saints' players put plenty of pressure on the Eagles’ ball carriers and pegged back a couple of goals to make a reasonable fist of the first quarter. In fact, St Kilda had plenty of the ball but couldn’t find a way to put more scoreboard pressure on the Eagles.

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