Star Eagle Nic Naitanui will have his fair share of support when he plays game 150 against the Gold Coast on Saturday night.
Naitanui will have friends and family watching a live stream from Fiji, mates in the stands, teammates on their field and more than 50,000 West Coast fans barracking from the bleachers.
But the one person he wants to desperately see won’t be there at Optus Stadium.
Naitanui’s mother Atetha passed away in August 2015 and the 27-year-old will have her in the back of his mind when he takes the field on the weekend.
“That’s probably the sad part, not having my mum with me for my 150th,” Naitanui said.
“I’ve got my brother and what not here to support me along in that respect, but I guess she’s been there through the whole journey and the hardships I faced early days.”
“To see me get to this point, there’s not too many of us boys that got drafted in the one street (the others being Docker Michael Walters and ex-Blue and Tiger Chris Yarran) to get to 150,” Naitanui said.
“I’m the first of the lot, so I’ll reckon she’ll be really proud.”
Naitanui, who will share his milestone with teammate Mark LeCras’ 200, shot to stardom quickly on the back of his distinctive image and dynamic brand of play.
The all-Australian ruckman has since spent his life in the limelight and learned to deal with the pressure that comes with being a high-profile AFL footballer.
“I spent New Year’s at Rottnest and I think I had more selfies than the quokkas,” Naitanui quipped.
“Whether it’s selfies or photos, I look back at it sometimes … sometimes it is frustrating and annoying but there’s worse things you could be doing.
“Someone asking for a photo is better than someone coming up and abusing you,” Naitanui said.
Naitanui said when you get your name out there, you lose your privacy straight away.
“It’s become the norm now – it’s part of my everyday life.
“I put in a plan every day with what I do and where I go.”
Naitanui will hope to continue his strong form against the Suns and extend West Coast’s two-match winning streak.