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Will Nic Nat return? Simmo's cryptic response

Eagles star Nic Naitanui at training on Monday - AFL,West Coast Eagles,Nic Naitanui
Eagles star Nic Naitanui at training on Monday

SPECULATION is swirling around Nic Naitanui's chances of a fairytale finals comeback, and cryptic West Coast coach Adam Simpson has added to the intrigue.

Simpson kept his cards close to his chest on Monday night when asked if the star ruckman was under serious consideration for a stunning return from a knee reconstruction against Greater Western Sydney on Saturday night.

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"I haven't had the chance to sit down and talk about where he's at," Simpson told 6PR.

"He trained again today, he trained well with the younger players.

"At this stage he's still training with us and we'll still tick over the days and until they tell me otherwise he's still training with the group."

Two weeks ago, Simpson was quick to rule Naitanui out of the Eagles' elimination final against Port Adelaide. 

But West Coast has advanced to a semi-final showdown with the Giants and nobody celebrated Luke Shuey's match-winning goal harder than Naitanui, who tweeted "The dream is still alive". 

Naitanui went through his usual sprinting and agility drills at training on Monday before joining the main group's skills session. 

Whether the 201cm big man is deemed ready for a cutthroat final in Sydney remains unclear after more than a year on the sidelines.

"It's the same as last week. He's still on the comeback trail and if he plays he's not going to be able to play a game beforehand, so we've just got to make sure he's fully ready for 70 minutes plus of combative, finals-like football," Simpson said. 

"I haven't had a chance to sit down with the medicos this week." 

Nathan Vardy and Drew Petrie were superb quelling All Australian ruckman Paddy Ryder's influence in the elimination final, but Naitanui's return against the Giants would be a major boost to the Eagles. 

"If Nic was fully fit and available we'd probably look at it still, but the performance they (Vardy and Petrie) put up at the weekend was first class," Simpson said. 

"They prepared really well. Dean (Cox) and 'Longy' (Justin Longmuir), the stoppage coach, did a lot of planning on it."

Simpson declared the Eagles had pulled up well from 140 minutes of football after the extra time win over Port, and West Coast has a light training week ahead before flying to Sydney on Thursday. 

While fresh legs will be considered by the match committee, Simpson forecast a settled line-up for the Giants clash. 

"I wouldn't be making too many changes I wouldn't have thought," he said.