West Coast coach Adam Simpson is bracing himself for the worst after ruckman Nic Naitanui suffered a suspected torn ACL during his side’s 25-point win over Hawthorn at Domain Stadium.
Naitanui damaged his left knee just before three-quarter time on Friday night after landing awkwardly in a marking contest.
His injury soured what was an otherwise brilliant victory to the Eagles, whose 13.14 (92) to 10.7 (67) has left Hawthorn’s top-two hopes hanging by a thread, with the defending premiers in danger of slipping to fourth by the end of the round.
“I fear for the worst, hope for the best. It’s too hard to tell. It doesn’t look great. We’ll find out in the next few days,” Simpson said.
“It’s a little bit indifferent the mood. It’s a bittersweet feeling at the moment.”
Hawthorn were dealt a massive injury blow of their own, with ruckman Jonathon Ceglar also suffering what could be a torn ACL to his right knee.
“We’ll get scans early in the week. But needless to say, we think it’s a pretty serious injury,” Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson said.
“Needless to say, we think it’s a pretty serious injury, and we’re crossing our fingers it’s not an ACL.”
Star Hawks midfielder Jordan Lewis faces a potential suspension after striking Eagles ruckman Scott Lycett as the duo wrestled on the ground.
Hawthorn can secure a top-four berth with victory over Collingwood next week, but they’ll need two of rivals Sydney, Adelaide and Geelong to slip up if they are to finish in the top two.
West Coast’s second win on the trot over a high-class rival has put them back in the premiership conversation, but they’re unlikely to snare an all-important top-four berth.
Naitanui was brilliant in the ruck against the Hawks, while Andrew Gaff, Matt Priddis, Mark LeCras, and Chris Masten did the damage at ground level.
Jeremy McGovern was sublime in defence, and up forward it was the Josh Kennedy show, with the Coleman Medal leader obliterating opponent James Frawley early on the way to a five-goal haul.
Lewis Jetta’s start to the match typified West Coast’s resolve.
Dropped three times already this season, Jetta made the most of his latest recall by tallying six disposals and a goal in the first quarter.