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Late drama unfolds as Naitanui claims West Coast best and fairest


Nic Naitanui has won his maiden John Worsfold Medal as West Coast’s best and fairest player for 2020.

It was a dramatic finish to the Eagles' count on Monday night with the ruckman narrowly beating Andrew Gaff to win by two votes, picking up best-on-ground honours in the Elimination Final loss to Collingwood to edge past the wingman.

Naitanui was trailing prior to the do-or-die final but polled 15 votes to Gaff’s 10, finishing with a total of 194 and as a result a two-vote triumph over the two-time All-Australian.

The 30-year-old, who won his second All-Australian blazer this year, was thankful to those who helped get his body right after missing plenty of football over the last few years due to injury.

“It means a lot more to the people that have helped me get here, to be able to do what I’ve done,” he said.

“To our medical and sports science group to get me out on the park, it’s a testament to them.

“To get a full pre-season and to play nearly all the games this season was big. I’m 30 now, but pleased to be playing as best as I can.”

Naitanui and Gaff finished ahead of third-placed Brad Sheppard - three of the players who missed the 2018 premiership - which the winner acknowledged.

“The top three this year and Eric Mackenzie we missed out on 2018. That shows how hungry we are,” he added.

“Although we didn’t get it done this year, the three of us put our best foot forward.”

Tom Barrass and Liam Duggan finished fourth and fifth respectively while Sheppard claimed the Chris Mainwaring Medal as Best Clubman.

Liam Ryan, who won All-Australian selection for the first time this year, finished just outside the top five.

Other award winners on the night included Josh Rotham (Emerging Talent), Josh Kennedy (Leading Goalkicker) and Naitanui (Player of the Finals).

John Worsfold Medal Top 10

  1. Nic Naitanui - 194
  2. Andrew Gaff - 192
  3. Brad Sheppard - 163
  4. Tom Barrass - 154
  5. Liam Duggan - 152
  6. Liam Ryan - 150
  7. Tim Kelly - 148
  8. Jack Darling - 145
  9. Josh Kennedy - 131
  10. Shannon Hurn - 127

West Coast Eagles

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