West Coast coach Adam Simpson says the return of Nic Naitanui is akin to welcoming again Patrick Dangerfield, however he’s urging followers to be affected person with the star ruckman.
Naitanui will return from his second knee reconstruction in Saturday’s AFL conflict with Hawthorn on the MCG.
The 29-year-old made a shocking return from his first knee reconstruction, and hopes are excessive he can repeat that effort and make the most of the AFL’s new 6-6-6 guidelines.
West Coast have been strong quite than spectacular with out Naitanui this 12 months, and Simpson can’t wait to get the high-leaping Fijian again within the facet.
Naitanui might be on restricted minutes whereas he builds up his health, with Tom Hickey anticipated to associate him within the ruck.
“He’s been a big out for us this 12 months,” Simpson stated of Naitanui.
“He’s the Dangerfield of our facet. He’s one in all our greatest gamers. So lacking a Nat Fyfe-type of participant is what Naitanui is for us.”
Naitanui has by no means been a giant accumulator of the ball, with that trait attracting sturdy criticism at numerous factors all through his 161-game profession.
Simpson hopes the critics will give Naitanui time to search out his groove.
“We have to give Nic a bit of little bit of persistence,” Simpson stated.
“Everybody’s actually excited that he’s again, and that’s nice.
“However there’s additionally folks (who) bounce on him immediately, which I assure you’ll occur at some stage earlier than his profession ends.
“So simply get the great stability is my plea. Let him discover his ft.”
The Eagles had been dealt an enormous blow on Tuesday when Jeremy McGovern’s one-match ban for shoving Matt Guelfi was upheld by the AFL Tribunal.
McGovern’s absence in opposition to the Hawks could possibly be compounded by the truth that Tom Barrass is probably not prepared for an AFL call-up.
Barrass made a robust return from foot surgical procedure within the WAFL final Saturday, however he copped a cork to his proper calf late within the sport and is unsure for this week.
“We’re going to offer him each probability,” Simpson stated.
“He skilled briefly immediately. He didn’t do quite a bit. We’ll see how he pulls up this afternoon and tomorrow.”
Goalsneak Willie Rioli returns from suspension, however Simpson can also be eager to maintain final week’s debutant Jarrod Cameron within the facet following his two-goal, seven-tackle effort.
“He will get my vote. That holds a little bit of sway at match committee,” Simpson stated with a smile.