Elliot Yeo has defended teammate Nic Naitanui after he responded to criticism by saying he didn’t ‘give a crap’.
Former Hawthorn player Dermott Brereton zeroed-in on Naitanui during and after the win over Hawthorn for his lack of marks and style of play.
“His intelligence and football IQ for how to do [ruckwork] is 11 out of 10,” Brereton had said. “As a ruckman trying to find the ball around the ground, he’s a one out of 10. He has no idea how to intercept the ball when it’s in movement.”
Nic Nat was later asked about the comments, to which he said focusing on taking marks would take him away from his real job during games.
“If I want to run around and get some little hit-up marks around the ground, I can do that,” Naitanui explained on ABC Radio.
“I can tap Andrew Gaff on the shoulder and ask him to look for that. But for me, it’s getting the work done around stoppage.”
He added that, in his early days, Dean Cox had instilled in him to master his craft and tap the ball.
“If I can make Tim Kelly and those guys look good, I don’t really give a crap what I look like.”
On Wednesday, Elliot Yeo fully backed his teammate.
“He’s that good a tap ruckman, he’s that dominant, pretty sure that over the weekend he was the number one ranking player at halftime and he hadn’t even marked it.”
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