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Nic Nat: I was 'crapping myself'

West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui admits he was "crapping" himself the first time he came up against Aaron Sandilands, but says he's confident he can now jump all over the Fremantle Goliath.

At 211cm, Sandilands is the tallest player in the league, while his hefty 122kg frame makes him near on impossible to budge in ruck contests.

Naitanui was just five games into his career when he first faced Sandilands in round 17, 2009.

Sandilands finished that match with 30 possessions, 31 hit-outs, one goal and the three Brownlow Medal votes as Fremantle held on to win by five points.

Naitanui was well beaten that day, but has since established himself as one of the competition's finest ruckmen.

And the spring-heeled 22-year-old believes he now possesses the weapons to not only draw even with Sandilands, but also beat him.

"I don't really try to nullify against anyone. I should win it against him," Naitanui said ahead of Sunday's western derby.

"He's a bigger player, but there's always ways you can get around him.

"I'm pretty lucky I've got a bit of a leap.

"I'll be looking to win every single one of (the taps).

"I remember my first derby in my first year, I was a skinny bloke and I was crapping myself in the middle coming up against a big guy of 120 kilograms and 211 centimetres.

"I knew all his dimensions by that stage because I had it all running through my head.

"But now I've watched him a fair bit and played against him enough, and having (Dean) Cox alongside (gives me) a bit more confidence."

Cox booted a career-high five goals in last week's 30-point win over St Kilda, and shapes as an important figure as the Eagles deal with the continued absence of key forward Josh Kennedy (ankle).

Eagles midfielder Matt Priddis is on track to return from concussion, but defender Adam Selwood is in some doubt after reinjuring his hand.

- AAP

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