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Naitanui a chance to face Bulldogs

Alex Malcolm  April 29, 2013 6:23 PM

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Nic Naitanui is approaching full fitness and could make his return against the Bulldogs

LAST year's All Australian ruckman Nic Naitanui is a chance to return to the West Coast line-up for Sunday's vital clash with the Western Bulldogs.

Naitanui, who has been sidelined all season with groin issues, has been listed as a "test" on the Eagles injury list.  

Coach John Worsfold has said all season that Naitanui would only be available once he completed three weeks of unrestricted training, but never stated when his full training might have started.

Teammate Daniel Kerr gave the strongest indication yet that Naitanui was close to returning.

"He's been back training for a number of weeks now," Kerr said.

"Nic's thought he could play for the last four weeks. But that's Nic.

"I'm sure the club will take a cautious approach with Nic as he's got a lot of football ahead of him."

Worsfold said last week that the club was considering a return for Naitanui through the WAFL.

But his team, Swan Districts, does not play the next two weekends, which means the star ruckman could make his return in the AFL.
"That call will be based on where Nic is at and the medical staff," Kerr said.

"I can't wait to have him back."

If Naitanui is available it will be a timely inclusion after Darren Glass was offered a two-match suspension for rough conduct against Paul Stewart during West Coast's five-point loss to Port Adelaide.

Matt Priddis is also in doubt for the Bulldogs clash following a concussion that forced him to be subbed out of Saturday night's match in the opening term.

Kerr said Priddis had pulled up better than expected and may well still play against the Bulldogs.

"He got knocked out in a very similar incident against Essendon I think, last year, and he said he feels heaps better than that.

"I think he missed one game after getting knocked out against Essendon and he said the symptoms aren't nearly as bad so I'd imagine he'd get up this week."

Matt Rosa and Sharrod Wellingham are also in line to return for West Coast after missing the first five matches with injuries suffered late in the pre-season.

The pair had 29 and 28 disposals respectively for East Perth in WAFL on Anzac Day.

Kerr is still working back to full fitness after a limited pre-season following knee surgery, but he felt that there would be no issues if he joined Rosa and Wellingham in the same midfield.

"They've completed pretty much every session of the pre-season so there's no issue with their fitness at all. It's just that they've had injuries that have kept them out," he said.

"Sharrod is extremely fit. He ran an extremely good fitness test and he's been able to run on his leg, on a special treadmill that we have, for a number of weeks now.

"He's been running out on the track, and Matt is the same so their issue won't be fitness."

Andrew Embley is also listed as a possible return this week following a foot injury he suffered against Melbourne in round three, as is Patrick McGinnity, who hasn't played for West Coast this year due to a back complaint.