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My tactics worked says Prandelli after Italy sink England

“Our logic was that we don’t have players who are as powerful as England’s but we have technically skilled players and in the first half we had better ball possession,” said the Italy coach, whose team won thanks to a 50th minute Mario Balotelli header.

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“This is the way to play and in our substitutes we have players who can go the extra mile.

“We lined up Andrea Pirlo, Daniele De Rossi and Marco Veratti to have numerical superiority in the centre of the pitch and it worked.

“We had to be very good at closing down England whose players have the ability to turn quickly and sprint.”

Prandelli said it was “crazy” not to have had time-outs or drink breaks in the intense heat and humidity but was pleased by the way his team coped with the energy-sapping environment.

“We suffered tonight but the response of the players to the conditions were extraordinary.”

“It was an epic match and I feel that England is one of the strongest teams in the World Cup. We played a great game,” he said.

Prandelli said though that he was impressed by the way that England’s game had progressed.

“Up until just a few years ago England relied on long balls but they are now a skilled team with excellent triangular passing.

“They have changed a lot and now have one of the strongest attacks in the World Cup, that is why I am so satisfied with the result,” he said.

Striker Balotelli said it had been a classic example of the Italian way of playing.

“Italy suffer, they always suffer but the important thing is to win,” said the forward.

“Now we have to keep our feet on the ground and just focus on each game that comes.”

The other Italy scorer, midfielder Claudio Marchisio, said the Azzurri had shown their true personality in the heat in the jungle city of Manaus.

“It was important to start with a win, above all on a day when playing football was really difficult.

“At times I thought I was having hallucinations it was so hot. This team, though, showed it has great character, in the final minutes we resisted and brought home a deserved win,” he said.

(Writing by Simon Evans, Editing by Michael Kahn)

Ukraine gas talks on despite rebel strike

Ukraine is marking a national day of mourning and vowing to retaliate after pro-Kremlin rebels downed a military plane, killing 49, in their deadliest single attack against government forces.

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Russia and Ukraine are also meeting for key gas talks on Sunday to avert a cut in Russian supplies that would affect large swathes of Europe.

The talks comes a day after protesters smashed Russian embassy windows in Kiev in the wake of the attack that brought down the transport plane in Ukraine’s east.

The United States accused Russia of helping the insurgency by sending tanks and rocket launchers to pro-Moscow rebels, a charge the Kremlin denied.

A commander in rebel-held Lugansk, where the plane was shot down, showed the transporter’s debris 12km from the airport.

He said the plane tried to dump fuel after rebel fire hit its engines but it crashed on its second landing approach.

Ukraine’s West-backed President Petro Poroshenko vowed to launch “an adequate response” and signalled intensification of the current offensive.

Poroshenko spoke moments before a crowd of several hundred smashed windows in the Russian embassy.

Russia condemned Kiev police inaction as “a grave violation of Ukraine’s international obligations”.

Washington also delivered Kiev a rare rebuke by urging “authorities to meet their Vienna Convention obligations to provide adequate security”.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande expressed “extreme concern” over Ukraine’s spiralling violence in a joint phone call to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Lugansk has been under effective rebel control since the eastern uprising began in early April.

On Saturday, three Ukraine border guards were killed and four wounded after an ambush in southeastern Mariupol – captured with great fanfare by federal forces the day before.

Ukrainian forces have so far managed to hold on to Lugansk’s airport and use it in the campaign to quell the separatist unrest.

The eastern insurgency has now claimed at least 320 lives on both sides.

Poroshenko’s troubles have been compounded by the threat of Russian gas shipment cuts as early as Monday in the bitter gas price dispute, which talks on Saturday failed to resolve.

“No solution was found, and the negotiations will continue Sunday morning,” Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan said after EU-brokered talks.

Ukraine receives half its gas supplies from Russia and transports 15 percent of fuel consumed in Europe. Moscow had nearly doubled the price it charges Kiev in the wake of the February ouster of a Kremlin-backed president.

Ukraine said it was ready to make a $US1.95 billion ($A2.11 billion) payment demanded by Moscow if Russia agreed to cut its ongoing price to $US326 ($A353) per 1000 cubic metres but Russia said $US385 ($A417) was its final offer.

The United States on Friday accused Russia of sending tanks and rocket launchers to rebels.

A US State Department spokeswoman raised the prospect of further Western economic sanctions if Russia failed “to demonstrate its commitment to peace”.

Singapore grapples with smartphone addicts

Easily distracted? Can’t be separated from your smartphone? Constantly checking your device for no real reason? Chances are you’re an addict – and you may even need professional help.

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Psychiatrists in Singapore are pushing for medical authorities to formally recognise addiction to the internet and digital devices as a disorder, joining other countries around the world in addressing a growing problem.

Singapore and Hong Kong top an Asia-Pacific region that boasts some of the world’s highest smartphone penetration rates, according to a 2013 report by media monitoring firm Nielsen.

Some 87 per cent of Singapore’s 5.4 million population own smartphones.

Singaporeans also spend on average 38 minutes per session on Facebook, almost twice as long as Americans, according to a study by Experian, a global information services company.

Adrian Wang, a psychiatrist at the upmarket Gleneagles Medical Centre, said digital addiction should be classified as a psychiatric disorder.

“Patients come for stress anxiety-related problems, but their coping mechanism is to go online, go on to social media,” Wang said.

He recalled having treated an 18-year-old male student with extreme symptoms.

“When I saw him, he was unshaven, he had long hair, he was skinny, he hadn’t showered for days, he looked like a homeless man,” Wang told AFP.

The boy came to blows with his father after he tried to take away the young man’s laptop computer.

After the father cut off internet access in the house, desperation drove the boy to hang around neighbours’ homes trying to get a wireless connection.

He was eventually hospitalised, put on anti-depressants and received “a lot” of counselling, Wang said.

“We just needed to break the cycle. He got better, he was discharged from the hospital and I saw him a few more times and he was okay.”

Tan Hwee Sim, a consultant psychiatrist at The Resilienz Mind clinic in Singapore, noted that the symptoms exhibited by her young adult patients have changed over the years.

Obsession with online gaming was the main manifestation in the past, but addiction to social media and video downloading are now on the uptrend.

In terms of physical symptoms, more people are reporting “text neck” or “iNeck” pain, according to Tan Kian Hian, a consultant at the anaesthesiology department of Singapore General Hospital.

Singapore’s problem is not unique, with a number of countries setting up treatment centres for young internet addicts, particularly in Asia where South Korea, China and Taiwan have moved to tackle the issue.

In Singapore, there are two counselling centres – National Addictions Management Services and Touch Community Services – with programs for digital addiction.

Trisha Lin, an assistant professor in communications at the Nanyang Technological University, said younger people face a higher risk because they adopt new technology earlier – but can’t set limits.

Lin defined digital addiction by a number of symptoms: the inability to control craving, anxiety when separated from a smartphone, loss in productivity in studies or at work, and the need to constantly check one’s phone.

Detained leaker says US public lied to

The detained US soldier convicted of leaking a trove of secret documents to WikiLeaks has made a rare foray into public life to warn Americans they were being lied to about Iraq once more.

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Chelsea Manning is serving a 35-year prison sentence on espionage charges and other offences for passing along 700,000 secret documents, including diplomatic cables and military intelligence files, to anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks in the largest-scale leak in US history.

“I understand that my actions violated the law. However, the concerns that motivated me have not been resolved,” the soldier formerly a man known as Bradley Manning wrote in a New York Times editorial on Saturday.

“As Iraq erupts in civil war and America again contemplates intervention, that unfinished business should give new urgency to the question of how the United States military controlled the media coverage of its long involvement there and in Afghanistan.”

President Barack Obama said this week he was “looking at all the options” to halt the offensive that has brought militants within 80km of Baghdad’s city limits, but ruled out any return of US combat troops.

Obama has been under mounting fire from Republican critics over the swift collapse of Iraq’s security forces, which Washington spent billions of dollars training and equipping before pulling out its own troops in 2011.

While the US military was upbeat in its public outlook on the 2010 Iraqi parliamentary elections, suggesting it had helped bring stability and democracy to the country, “those of us stationed there were acutely aware of a more complicated reality”, Manning wrote.

“Military and diplomatic reports coming across my desk detailed a brutal crackdown against political dissidents by the Iraqi Ministry of Interior and federal police, on behalf of Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki. Detainees were often tortured, or even killed.”

Manning, a former US Army intelligence analyst, said he was “shocked by our military’s complicity in the corruption of that election. Yet these deeply troubling details flew under the American media’s radar.”

Criticising the military’s practice of embedding journalists, Manning charged that “the current limits on press freedom and excessive government secrecy make it impossible for Americans to grasp fully what is happening in the wars we finance.”

Manning is serving out the prison sentence at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas and had requested a name change after court-martial proceedings revealed the soldier’s emotional turmoil over sexual identity.

A US Army general denied clemency to Manning in April, upholding the 35-year sentence.

Wily Italy outfox England, Costa Rica stun Uruguay

Ivory Coast came from a goal behind to beat Japan 2-1 in the late kickoff in Recife after Colombia overcame Greece 3-0 to open Group C proceedings.

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On an action-packed day across Brazil, England against Italy in the searing heat and humidity of Manaus had top billing, and it lived up to the hype in a thrilling contest in keeping with this tournament’s emphasis on attacking football.

Claudio Marchisio fired Italy ahead after 35 minutes when England were wrong-footed by an Andrea Pirlo dummy, but Daniel Sturridge levelled within three minutes after Wayne Rooney picked him out with a perfect left-wing cross.

Mario Balotelli, who had a clever lob cleared off the line at the end of the first half, made it 2-1 five minutes into the second when he took advantage of ragged defending to head home.

England pressed for an equaliser, but Italy’s defence grew in authority as the match wore on and the Azzurri secured the three points.

“Up until just a few years ago England relied on long balls, but they are now a skilled team with excellent triangular passing,” said Italy coach Cesare Prandelli.

“They have changed a lot and now have one of the strongest attacks in the World Cup. That is why I am so satisfied with the result.”

Some 2,400 kilometres (1,500 miles) to the east in Fortaleza, Costa Rica came from a goal behind to beat Uruguay 3-1 and blow one of the toughest groups wide open.

CAMPBELL SHINES

Promising young striker Joel Campbell set them on the way, chesting down a cross from the right after 54 minutes and slamming home a low shot to cancel out Edinson Cavani’s first- half penalty.

Centre back Oscar Duarte put the Central Americans ahead just three minutes later with a brave diving header at the back post from a Christian Bolanos free kick.

Substitute Marco Urena completed one of most memorable victories in his country’s modest footballing history with a third in the 84th minute, silencing an army of sky blue-clad fans who had made the trip north from the River Plate.

To compound Uruguay’s misery, defender Maxi Pereira became the first player to be sent off at this World Cup when he was shown a straight red for upending Campbell with a nasty kick to the shin in stoppage-time.

Striker Luis Suarez, recovering from a knee injury, could only look on from the bench and the South Americans will be hoping he is fit for the crunch clash with England in Sao Paulo on Thursday.

The result, an even bigger surprise than Friday’s 5-1 trouncing of champions Spain by the Netherlands, extended one of the most exciting starts to a World Cup in living memory.

“I didn’t hear anyone saying Holland would be favourites against Spain or that Costa Rica would win,” Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez told reporters.

“But that’s what we saw. Once the game starts, everything depends on the mentality of the players.”

The goal tally in Brazil is already 28, at an average of 3.5 a game in a free-flowing start to the tournament.

PREPARATIONS OVERSHADOWED

Years of construction delays, alleged corruption and sometimes violent protests over the $11 billion spent by Brazil to host the World Cup have been overtaken by the scintillating action on the field, at least for now.

The buildup to the tournament was also marred by allegations of corruption within FIFA, football’s governing body, centring on Qatar’s successful bid to hold the 2022 World Cup.

The organisers of the bid gave their firmest rebuttal to date of allegations of bribery in a statement they hope will dispel the atmosphere of distrust that has descended on the game in the last few weeks.

Disagreement over the scandal has deepened divisions within FIFA, headed by Sepp Blatter whose expected run for re-election next year is opposed by European member states but supported by those in Africa, Asia and beyond.

“We have nothing to hide … In every aspect of the 2018/2022 FIFA World Cup bidding process, we strictly adhered to FIFA’s rules and regulations,” Qatar 2022 said.

Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper, which has reported the allegations of bribery in recent weeks, published its latest article in which it said FIFA bosses had been warned in a “secret terror briefing” that there was a “high risk” of a terrorist attack shutting down the event.

A spokesman for Qatar 2022 said he had no comment on that particular report.

GREEK TRAGEDY

In Recife, Japan’s Keisuke Honda’s fierce left-foot drive gave his side a 1-0 halftime lead but Wilfried Bony levelled with a glancing header in the 64th minute.

Two minutes later Gervinho repeated the trick, this time at the near post, after another inch-perfect cross from the right from Serge Aurier, completing an impressive turnaround.

In the early Group C kickoff, Colombia swept aside Greece in Belo Horizonte, winning even without injured leading striker Radamel Falcao.

In their first World Cup appearance since 1998, it was a reminder that Colombia remain a force to be reckoned with.

The South Americans made a blistering start with left back Pablo Armero scoring with a fifth minute deflected shot. Striker Teofilo Gutierrez stabbed home a flicked 58th-minute corner and midfielder James Rodriguez added a late third goal.

The soccer world was still recovering from the shock of the Netherlands’ victory over Spain which included a spectacular header from flying Dutchman Robin van Persie.

“If I was the head of the Dutch airline company, I would sign him up tomorrow and use that image of a Dutchman flying through the air,” said Jean-Paul Brigger of FIFA’s Technical Study Group. “It was just fantastic.”

In Sunday’s games, Switzerland play Ecuador in Brasilia and France face Honduras in Porto Alegre in Group E, while in Group F Argentina get their campaign underway against Bosnia in Rio de Janeiro.

(Additional reporting by David Ljunggren in Manaus, Gideon Long in Fortaleza, Andrew Cawthorne in Belo Horizonte, Philip O’Connor in Recife, Mike Collett in Rio de Janeiro and Stephen Addison in London; editing by Ed Osmond and Justin Palmer)

Suns not daunted by tough AFL schedule

If Gold Coast want to play finals this year, they’re going to have to do it the hard way.

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Four weeks ago, the Suns were considered an outside chance to snare a top-four berth after winning seven of their opening nine games of the AFL season.

But three losses on the trot have left them with an uphill battle to even make the top eight, with Saturday’s three-point defeat to West Coast proving particularly heartbreaking.

The Suns booted six unanswered goals in the final quarter to turn a 39-point deficit into a one-point lead.

But a late goal from Eagles swingman Jeremy McGovern sealed the 15.13 (103) to 15.10 (100) result.

Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna was impressed by his team’s final-quarter display, but he was critical of what they produced during the first three terms.

And with season-defining games against Geelong (home), Hawthorn (Aurora Stadium) and Collingwood (home) to come over the next three weeks, McKenna knows his team will pay the price if they don’t start producing four-quarter efforts.

“Well, I would look at that last quarter and say we’re a good chance to beat the next three sides if we play like that,” McKenna said.

“But we have to play longer than 30 minutes.

“Physically the group has matured. Technically we’ve got some hurdles to get over with our ball use and composure.

“We’re 7-5 now. The season’s just over halfway done. It’s a big year still ahead of us. We’re looking forward to those three challenges coming up.”

Gold Coast skipper Gary Ablett was restricted to just four possessions in the opening term against West Coast, but finished the match with 33 disposals and 11 clearances to almost get his side over the line.

The little maestro had the chance to win the game in the dying moments, but his checkside kick from a near-impossible angle hit the post.

Australia’s Genia out for eight weeks with ankle injury

The 55-test veteran hurt his ankle playing for the Queensland Reds in round 11 of the Super Rugby tournament and had carried the injury into training for the Wallabies’ three-test series against France, the Australian Rugby Union said in a media release on Sunday.

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“Scans late last week confirmed a pre-existing injury to the upper part of his ankle had not healed sufficiently and as a result medical staff from both the … Wallabies and Queensland Reds agreed that surgery would be the best course of action,” the ARU said.

Genia may be sidelined for up to eight weeks, which would leave him well short of match fitness for the Wallabies’ Rugby Championship opener against New Zealand on Aug. 16.

Though rarely firing for the Reds this season, the 26-year-old’s omission from the first two tests raised eyebrows, with his injury kept under wraps.

“Will has demonstrated enormous mental fortitude to play through the injury although it has reached a point where it’s important he gets it surgically repaired so that he can get back to 100 percent fitness,” Australia coach Ewen McKenzie said in the ARU statement.

“We’ve seen before how committed Will is when undergoing rehab and I would expect him to work hard to be available for selection when we begin our … Rugby Championship campaign.”

McKenzie has picked ACT Brumbies’ Nic White as his starting scrumhalf against Les Bleus, with New South Wales Waratahs’ Nick Phipps on the bench.

Australia edged France 6-0 in a dour contest in Melbourne on Saturday to seal the series 2-0 ahead of the final match in Sydney this week, but White had a poor game at Docklands stadium, missing three out of four penalty kicks and struggling to spark a haphazard Wallabies’ attack.

Genia’s withdrawal has opened the door for former Wallabies scrumhalf Luke Burgess to join the squad and add to his 37 caps.

The 30-year-old Burgess played his last test at the 2011 World Cup, but was in solid form for the Melbourne Rebels coming in to the June internationals.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

Cote d’Ivoire quickfire double stuns Japan

Japan led 1-0 at half-time at the Itaipava Pernambuco thanks to Keisuke Honda but Cote d’Ivoire claimed victory with two goals in as many minutes just after the hour-mark.

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Fullback Serge Aurier created both goals with impressive crosses from the right with Wilfried Bony and Gervinho taking advantage, although the latter benefited from poor goalkeeping from Japan’s Eiji Kawashima.

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The game was the first time Cote d’Ivoire had won its opening fixture at a FIFA World Cup as the African nation look to claim a maiden berth in the knockout stages in its third consecutive appearance at the global tournament.

The shock in the two starting line-ups was the absence of captain Didier Drogba from Cote d’Ivoire’s XI after he failed to recover from a thigh strain suffered at training.

Bony took Drogba’s spot up front while coach Sabri Lamouchi made two other changes to the XI that began Cote d’Ivoire’s 2-1 win over El Salvador with Kolo Toure – who had struggled with malaria before the tournament – and Max Gradel being replaced by Didier Zokora and Yaya Toure.

Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni recalled Makoto Hasebe after the captain recovered from a knee injury to make just his third appearance for club or country this year.

Hasebe started as one of two holding midfielders alongside Hotaru Yamaguchi, while Yuya Osako got the nod in Japan’s most troublesome position – centre-forward.

Of the four strikers in Zaccheroni’s squad, Osako was the only one yet to have scored for Japan in 2014 but started at the point of the attack ahead of Shinji Okazaki, Yoshito Okubo and Yoichiro Kakitani.

Okazaki started on the right wing while Okubo and Kakitani were named on the bench.

Cote d’Ivoire had 59.7 per cent possession in the first half with the Africans starting stronger, as Bony received the ball in the box before his shot was deflected past the post in the sixth minute.

But Japan edged its way into the game and in the 16th minute it hit the front.

Yuto Nagatomo collected a throw-in and fed Honda on the edge of the box, and the Milan man slipped away from Toure and fired a thunderous strike into the top corner.

Atsuto Uchida could have made it 2-0 five minutes later but the fullback’s powerful drive was parried by Boubacar Barry, before the Cote d’Ivoire goalkeeper was almost chipped by Honda.

While Cote d’Ivoire had more of the ball, it generally struggled to break down Japan’s well-organised defence and its best opportunities came on the counter-attack.

After Toure and Arthur Boka just missed the target with free-kicks, Gervinho got free on the break in the 34th minute only for a scrambling Maya Yoshida to block his shot with a sliding challenge.

Honda slalomed through the opposition defence soon after only to watch his deflected shot loop over the bar, while Cote d’Ivoire had a couple of half chances to Salomon Kalou and Boka but was unable to beat Kawashima.

After a frantic first half, the second started slightly slower but in the 57th minute Cote d’Ivoire had a penalty claim ignored after Toure’s drive into the box ended with a stumble after Yoshida’s sliding challenge.

Drogba was brought on in the 62nd minute for Serey Die and almost created a goal immediately with a back-heel to Gervinho before Japan’s defence scrambled the ball clear.

But the Cote d’Ivoire fans did not need to wait long for an equaliser with Bony getting between Yoshida and Masato Morishige to nod Aurier’s fine cross past Kawashima in the 64th minute.

A cross from Aurier set up a second goal soon after but Kawashima would have been unhappy with his effort, failing to stop Gervinho’s header despite getting two hands to the ball at the near post.

Kawashima did better in the 82nd minute, parrying Drogba’s free kick away while the Galatasaray striker had a shot deflected past the post soon after.

But it mattered little as Cote d’Ivoire moved into second in Group C behind Colombia ahead of their clash on Friday while Japan faces Greece on the same day.

Hodgson takes England loss hard despite youthful promise

Italy won the Group D clash 2-1 thanks to a 50th-minute winner from Mario Balotelli after England were unable to turn their second-half dominance into an equalizer.

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“It’s always difficult when you lose a game to take the positives. Even when it was 2-1, I thought we’d get back into it and go on to win it because it was quite a dominant second-half performance,” Hodgson told reporters.

“The only positive I can take is that it was undoubtedly the best I’ve seen the team play during my time with them,” said Hodgson who took over as England manager two years ago.

Costa Rica beat Uruguay 3-1 in the group’s opening game and Hodgson believes his team still have every chance to progress to the last 16.

“Of course we can still qualify. We’re a bit downhearted at the moment, a bit sad that the game didn’t go our way – we were hoping for a perfect start but we don’t live in a perfect world,” he said.

“I’ve got great confidence that we can do well enough in the next two games to qualify and I’m sure the players will get that when they get over this disappointment.”

Hodgson was pleased with the way his team restricted Italy’s attack but frustrated at his players’ inability to deliver precise final passes.

“It’s a bit tough to accept that we lost the game, especially considering there were so few shots on our goal in the second half,” he said.

“(Goalkeeper) Joe Hart had a pretty quiet evening really and yet we find ourselves having lost. We know we played against a good team and to take them so close gives us great confidence that we can do well against Uruguay and Costa Rica and still progress in the tournament.

“Our final ball was a bit disappointing today – we’re better than that. I thought especially towards the end when we were desperate for that goal I thought there were several situations where we were in good crossing or shooting positions and we didn’t take advantage of it and that’s something we need to work on.

“But we are a young team and this is the first World Cup for almost two thirds of the team so I think this is something we will improve upon going forward,” he said.

Hodgson singled out Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck for praise for their lively contributions to England’s attacks.

“It’s very good to know that we have so many players who will help us become a much better team going forward,” he said.

(Reporting by Simon Evans, editing by Ed Osmond)

Hot Naitanui back to his best in AFL

Be afraid.

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Be very afraid – the real Nic Naitanui is back.

The star ruckman produced a match-winning display on Saturday to lift the Eagles to a three-point win over Gold Coast in Perth.

Naitanui has been battered by critics this year after making a slow return to form following 18 months of groin issues.

But if the past four weeks are anything to go by, Naitanui will be a major force in the second half of the year.

The 2012 All-Australian tallied 22 possessions, 34 hit-outs and six clearances against the Suns, with Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna conceding he could do little to stop Naitanui’s dominance at the centre bounces.

Even Naitanui’s non possessions were critical.

Whether he was providing deft knock-ons or merely busting packs, Naitanui caused havoc everywhere.

And it was his effort to compete for a high ball in the goalsquare while running against the flight that set up Jeremy McGovern for the match-winner.

Naitanui copped a massive whack to the face for his efforts, but it proved to be the defining moment in the 15.13 (103) to 15.10 (100) win.

“Unfortunately you don’t get stats for those little knock-ons and efforts that just disrupt the play,” West Coast coach Adam Simpson said.

“Because he’s so big and strong and powerful, he’d have to have 10 or 15 a game.

“I just think we’re seeing glimpses of his best, and for a longer period.

“For a guy who gets criticised a lot for perhaps not understanding how to get the ball, I think every week I’ve seen improvement.”

The Eagles are unlikely to make the finals despite improving their record to 5-7.

Forward Josh Kennedy (seven goals) and Naitanui were brilliant against the Suns, while Sharrod Wellingham made a welcome return to form after earning a late reprieve.

But the Eagles have several worrying problems on the injury front heading into Sunday’s clash with St Kilda at Etihad Stadium.

Midfielder Elliot Yeo could miss between one to four weeks with a broken hand, while Scott Selwood is no certainty to play again this year as the club assesses his worrying ankle injury.

Midfielder Luke Shuey (rolled ankle) is expected to return against the Saints, while Simpson faces a tough decision on whether to recall Dean Cox after resting the champion ruckman against Gold Coast.

Scott Lycett performed admirably in Cox’s absence.

And with Cox still undecided on his future, the Eagles may opt to give Lycett an extended run in the team if he can keep producing the goods.