Nic drama no flag dis­trac­tion

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - SPORT - with Josh Kennedy

THE feel­ing in the rooms post­match af­ter a great win against Hawthorn last Fri­day night was bit­ter­sweet.

Of course we were de­lighted with the win against Hawthorn, but it was soured a lit­tle by the in­jury to ruck­man Nic Nai­tanui.

At that stage we were still cling­ing to a bit of hope that he hadn’t dam­aged his ACL, but scans on Satur­day showed the worst.

We re­ally felt for Nic. He was just work­ing his way back from Achilles surgery and apart from be­ing a very im­por­tant part of our team, he’s a great bloke, a real team man and very pop­u­lar with the rest of the guys.

We know how hard he’s worked to get back play­ing and it’s dev­as­tat­ing for him to miss this finals cam­paign as well as most of next sea­son.

Over the next few weeks it’s the most ex­cit­ing time of the year and the rea­son play­ers put them­selves through the tough pre-sea­son that we do.

Ev­ery train­ing ses­sion is geared to­wards play­ing finals and hav­ing an impact.

We have given our­selves a good chance to have a run at it in finals and to be in with a chance of win­ning the club’s next premier­ship.

Nic will now miss that op­por­tu­nity and we’re all dis­ap­pointed for him.

But the na­ture of this busi­ness is that we have to get on with it and fo­cus on mak­ing the most of the chance we have cre­ated for our­selves.

We’ll have to do that with­out Nic on the field, but he’ll re­main around the play­ing group of­fer­ing ev­ery sup­port.

Nic is ob­vi­ously one of the best ruck­men in the game, but when he was side­lined and re­cov­er­ing from Achilles surgery we won each of our five games.

We still missed him, but found an­other way to get the job done and that’s what we have to do now.

In his ab­sence Scott Lycett re­ally stepped up and he’ll ben­e­fit from that ex­pe­ri­ence.

We fin­ish our qual­i­fy­ing cam­paign against Ade­laide in Ade­laide on Fri­day night and we’re all look­ing for­ward to that.

It has been an ex­cit­ing run in the last three weeks with strong wins over Fre­man­tle, GWS and Hawthorn, so that gives us great con­fi­dence go­ing into the game against the Crows.

They are in sec­ond spot on the lad­der and it will be a big chal­lenge at Ade­laide Oval.

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