West Coast back Lycett to replace Naitanui

West Coast forward Josh Kennedy says he has 100 per cent faith in Scott Lycett to fill the ruck void created by Nic Naitanui’s absence.

Kennedy said he and his teammates were shattered to hear the news of Naitanui’s AFL season-ending knee injury.

Naitanui is set to spend up to a year on the sidelines after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during Friday night’s 25-point win over Hawthorn.

The setback has severely dented West Coast’s premiership chances for both this season and next.

Sixth-placed West Coast need to beat the high-flying Crows in Adelaide on Friday night to secure a home final.

If they lose they are likely to slip to seventh, consigning them to an away elimination final.

Lycett will be thrust into the No.1 ruck role while Naitanui is sidelined.

Jonathan Giles, Mitch Brown, Jeremy McGovern, Jack Darling and Fraser McInnes will be back-up options.

The Eagles won five of their six games when Naitanui was sidelined with achilles tendon issues earlier this year and Kennedy said the group was confident Lycett can lead the way again.

“He’s taken a lot of steps forward this year and grown as a person and as a player,” Kennedy said.

“Nic is such a valuable player for our team, but we can win without him.

“We’ve just got to make sure we play as a unit. It’s not about one player. It’s about the other 22 on the field.”

Kennedy said Naitanui was devastated.

The injury came just six days after Naitanui kicked the match-winning goal against Greater Western Sydney.

“It’s pretty shattering for him,” Kennedy said.

“As a close mate, and a great bloke around the club, to see it happen is pretty devastating.

“You have your extreme highs and your extreme lows (in footy), and he’s probably had them both in the matter of seven days.

“We’re feeling for him. He’ll put the right foot forward, get it all sorted and come back bigger and stronger.”

Kennedy moved eight clear in the Coleman medal race following his five-goal haul against the Hawks.

With one round remaining, Kennedy leads the way on 75 goals with Sydney’s Lance Franklin (67), Eddie Betts (65) and Tom Lynch (65) needing something special to overtake him.

But Kennedy, who also won the Coleman medal last year, is far more interested in West Coast’s premiership plight, rather than an individual award.

“It’s the furthest thing from my mind at the moment,” Kennedy said.

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