Big Eagle Nic Naitanui becomes a huge hit while on holiday in Israel

CONTINUING rehab for his season-ending ACL injury in Israel seemed like a good idea to West Coast Eagles ruckman Nic Naitanui.

Then he saw the food. “I think they eat about two kilos of hummus every day, I’ve got to stay away from that stuff and the bread as well,” Naitanui told The Four Hoarsemen podcast. “Every meal comes out with about two loaves of bread so my skinfolds aren’t doing too well.

“Every morning I’ve been having shakshouka [a dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chilli peppers, and onions].

“I’m trying to claim it’s healthy, but Israeli food is really good but at the same time it’s really bad for people like me.” The devout Christian, who has made a pilgrimage to sights and towns including Jerusalem, also hasn’t escaped the attention of footy mad locals as well Australian tourists. The big Eagle provided the Tel Aviv Cheetahs with some words of advice and posed for a photo in the local club’s footy jumper.

“I travelled across here to try to escape the Aussies, but they’re everywhere,” Naitanui said. “But it’s good. They love the footy, the small expat community that’s over here at the moment.

“The majority are obviously Victorian, and there’s a fair chunk who are Collingwood supporters. So they aren’t too happy with me. “But it’s always good to hear the Australian accent over here.”

While Naitanui revealed he wouldn’t begin running until back in Australia he hasn’t stopped his training — although perhaps not by choice. “It’s pretty funny, there’s been people hitting me up from all walks of life so I was actually at a physio this morning doing some exercises and getting some treatment from an Israeli guy who used to reside in Melbourne,” Naitanui said. “So I was able to do my rehab over here.

“I was hoping to duck it a bit and not do it but they find a way.”

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