DREW Petrie's hopes of a round-one showdown against former club North Melbourne will rest on his JLT Community Series form, but the veteran has been "fantastic" during West Coast's pre-season, midfield coach Dean Cox says.
Petrie and ex-Geelong big man Nathan Vardy have both impressed since arriving in Perth this off-season to cover for the losses of injured ruckmen Nic Naitanui and Scott Lycett.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Cox said the tall recruits would be given the chance during pre-season matches to press their claims to face the Roos.
"I'm not sure about (who is) leading, we're still really early in the pre-season phase," Cox said.
"Only now we're starting to do the match-sim stuff and stoppage and working around the ground where it's really competitive.
"Vards has been really good since he got here, he's completed most of the program, and Drew's been fantastic as well.
"So along with (Jonathan) Giles who has had a really good pre-season after surgery at the end of the year, they'll all get a chance over the (JLT Community Series) campaign to press for round one."
Vardy walked and ran laps with strapping on his knee on Wednesday after copping a knock to his medial ligament, but is expected back in full training next week.
Meanwhile, a trim-looking Petrie trained strongly with the main group during full-ground match practice.
The 34-year-old was a left-field rookie addition by West Coast after the Roos didn't offer him a contract to extend his 316-game career at Arden St.
Despite playing almost exclusively up forward in recent years, Cox said Petrie hadn't forgotten the finer points of ruck craft.
"He has a lot ingrained, he has a lot of PPK (personal practical knowledge) – or knowledge – about how to ruck because he's done it for the early part of his career," Cox said.
"For Drew, since he's been here he's completed all the sessions, he's competed really well, and now it's about trying to work on some technique stuff and a lot of that stuff he has ingrained already.
"You've got to build chemistry with your midfielders as well, that's really important for rucks, so they'll get their opportunity throughout the next month before games start to do that."
The Eagles hope Lycett – who had some shots at goal and ran laps on Wednesday – will be available in the early part of the season coming back from a PCL reconstruction.
Meanwhile, Cox said star big man Naitanui, who wasn't sighted at Wembley Sports Park, pulled-up well from his first run last Monday following his ACL reconstruction.
"It's a slow burn with Nic to make sure that he keeps ticking boxes all the way through the process," Cox said.
"It's a long one, but now he's starting to run I see it's a lot more enjoyable (for him to be) around.
"Now it's just about trying to make sure we hold him back and get everything right with his rehab, and that's something that we'll do."