Naitanui rated a chance to return

Eagles coach John Worsfold says Nic Naitanui is a chance to return to the West Coast side this weekend. Photo: Sebastian CostanzoWest Coast coach John Worsfold is yet to decide whether to play star ruckman Nic Naitanui in Sunday’s AFL clash with the Western Bulldogs.

Naitanui has finally recovered from off-season groin surgery but Worsfold said the 22-year-old may spend another week in heavy training to further build up his match fitness before returning for the Eagles.

“Nic’s going really well,” Worsfold said on Wednesday.

“He’ll play if he’s declared available.

“But the level of which he’s available will determine whether he plays or not this week.

“It’s not really up to Nic now. The idea is he plays and doesn’t pull up sore. We want him to play longer and stronger next week and the week after. It’s more about how we want to manage him about whether he plays or not this week.

“If he can only cope with 70 minutes, we’ve got to make that call. Do we want to play him knowing he can play for 70 minutes?

“If he can only play for 30 minutes, then he probably won’t play for us. And with Swan Districts having a bye, then he’ll just train up this week and be available for more minutes next week.”

Former Magpie Sharrod Wellingham, who starred in the WAFL last week in his first match back from an ankle injury, and wingman Matt Rosa are strong chances to earn call-ups.

Defender Adam Selwood (back) and Andrew Embley (foot) are also in contention.

Worsfold said midfielder Matt Priddis, who was concussed in last week’s loss to Port Adelaide, had pulled up well and was in line to play against the Bulldogs.

Skipper Darren Glass is available to play after having his two-match suspension overturned by the tribunal.Follow WAtoday on Twitter

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