Nic Naitanui has given a clear insight into West Coast's desire to win this Saturday's NAB Cup grand final against Adelaide at AAMI Stadium, revealing it will be another key block in rebuilding the club's winning culture.
Naitanui also threw off any doubts about lingering shoulder problems after surgery last year, saying he was back to lifting heavy weights and was ready to attack the new season.
He also said injured Eagle Mark LeCras had returned to the club in good spirits following knee surgery and was helping to coach the club's forward line, which is almost certain to have to function without him for the season.
Naitanui said he became accustomed to regular grand final success as a Midvale junior alongside fellow AFL players Chris Yarran (Carlton) and Michael Walters (Fremantle).
He said that while West Coast's main focus was their round-one clash with the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium on April 1, winning games such as the NAB Cup decider was all part of coach John Worsfold's grand plan.
Player has installed the Crows as $1.83 favourites to beat the Eagles ($1.97).
"As Woosha always says, he wants a successful winning culture back at the club," Naitanui said.
"They've always had a successful history at West Coast and we haven't really been a part of that since we've been there.
"Our finals experience for most of us guys came for the first time last year and we just want to keep winning.
"We're pretty much injury-free apart from a few blokes and I think everyone will be training pretty tough this week, wanting to play in Adelaide.
"I guess we're building up to round one, but it will be a good hit-out before the real season starts."
Naitanui admitted he "got into trouble" for his spectacular dunk display at a recent Perth Wildcats match that went viral on the internet. But he was buoyant about the health of his shoulder after having pectoral surgery over the summer.
"I think there was a stage where little Andrew Gaff was benching more than me," he joked.
"But my shoulder and my pec is all good now and I'm back to benching more. I'm up to around where I was last year and I'm feeling pretty strong again.
"Now it's all fixed up, hopefully it stays strong and gets me through the year. I'm obviously still building a bit of muscle through my pec and that, but I'm back to full mobility in my arms and can take my marks."
Naitanui also said LeCras' return to the club had been a tonic for his teammates who were optimistic the NAB Cup grand final would not be their only premiership decider in 2012.
"Lecca's been around, in and out, and he's still in pretty high spirits," Naitanui said.
"He's out there helping the forwards and he comes to our line meetings every now and then. It puts things in perspective that you've got to make the most of your opportunities.
"A lot of people patted us on the back for going from last to top four in a year, but a lot of the guys are still dirty that we didn't make it to the grand final.
"All that doesn't really mean much now. The expectation is higher and our expectations are pretty high as well, we hopefully want to go that one step further."
· Naitanui was in Melbourne yesterday as part of his role as an AFL multicultural ambassador, which includes running football programs in WA with South Fremantle star Paul Mugambwa.The AFL yesterday announced Australia Post as its community inclusion partner. "We're pretty much injury-free and I think everyone will be training pretty tough this week, wanting to play in Adelaide." " Nic Naitanui
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