• International Rules history, results and rules
WEST Coast coach Adam Simpson admits he’s nervous about star ruckman Nic Naitanui playing in Saturday night’s Virgin Australia International Rules Test against Ireland.
The club was happy for Naitanui to play in the one-off Test at Patersons Stadium but the Eagles coach admits he’s crossing his fingers his star ruckman gets through the game unscathed.
The 2012 All Australian revealed last week he had considered discussions with Simpson before deciding to play.
Simpson said he was confident Naitanui would get through without trouble but he admitted he was nervous.
"I am sure very coach will be," Simpson said.
"But we're confident that he'll be all right. We have to manage him really well.
"He has come back (to training) early, he's done the work. He's trained the last two weeks and he is in a good position.
"But if he is sore or if he is showing signs that he can't contribute, then he won't play. So we won't take any risks. But at the moment he's feeling really good."
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The entire Eagles squad returned to training on Monday with the majority of the players running a 2km time trial.
Midfielders Chris Masten and Andrew Gaff dominated with Masten stopping the clock at 6min.
Ruckman Callum Sinclair returned in superb shape, running 6min 30sec.
Simpson was pleased with his squad’s performance, particularly given many younger players have put on some muscle during the off-season.
"It's always the worry that if you put too much focus on one area you give up something else," Simpson said.
"At the moment everyone is pretty balanced with their results."
Beau Waters, Scott Selwood, Brad Sheppard, Will Schofield, Luke Shuey, Eric Mackenzie, Sharrod Wellingham and Brant Colledge were on individually tailored running programs on Monday but all seemed in good shape despite many being managed following injuries and surgeries last season.
Jeremy McGovern did not run on Monday but Simpson said he was fine.
Murray Newman rolled an ankle last Friday and will miss a couple of weeks but Simpson said it wasn't serious.
"There is no ligament damage so just a roll of the ankle," Simpson said.
"Gets him out of the time trial today. He's in really good shape. He's as fit as I have seen him."
Simpson said he was also impressed with the physical progress of his new rookies, former baseballer Corey Adamson and Irishman Paddy Brophy.
"Athletically they are very sound," Simpson said.
"So they are actually in pretty good shape. But you don't know until you start bringing the balls out and the game sense stuff are the two things they will really work on over the next eight weeks".