WEST Coast star Nic Naitanui has been named to play his first pre-season game in four years when the Eagles take on a weakened Essendon in Thursday night's Marsh Community Series clash at Mineral Resources Park.

The Eagles will also get their first look at Tim Kelly the Eagle in competitive action, with the former Geelong star set to pair with Naitanui in the centre square after a superb pre-season.

The Eagles will take on an Essendon outfit missing best 22 players Joe Daniher, Dyson Heppell, Cale Hooker, Adam Saad and Jake Stringer for the trip west. 

Key defender Michael Hurley will captain the team, with international rookie Cian McBride and No.30 draft pick Harrison Jones the two first-year players named.

Naitanui, whose past four seasons have been ruined by injury, will play his 12th pre-season game, and his first since 2016.

Tim Kelly will have his first run in Eagles colours on Thursday night. Picture: AFL Photos

Like Kelly, the game-breaking ruckman has barely put a foot wrong this summer, albeit on a carefully managed program after two serious knee injuries in the past three seasons. 

The Eagles will take on an Essendon outfit missing best 22 players Joe Daniher, Dyson Heppell, Cale Hooker, Adam Saad and Jake Stringer for the trip west. 

Key defender Michael Hurley will captain the team, with international rookie Cian McBride the only draftee named.

The Eagles have selected Tom Hickey, Nathan Vardy and Bailey Williams, who is yet to debut, on their bench as the trio battle for the second ruck position in round one.

Jake Stringer at Essendon's training camp on the Sunshine Coast in January. Picture: Getty Images

Naitanui will square off against Essendon list hopeful Brynn Teakle, who has been named by the Bombers as he pushes to win a rookie spot during the Pre-Season Supplementary Selection Period. 

Mature-age NT Thunder prospect Nigel Lockyer will also be out to impress as he fights for the last remaining spot on the Bombers’ list.

PRE-SEASON FIXTURE Check out your team's Marsh Community Series games

The Bombers will be led in the ruck by former Carlton big man Andrew Phillips, with Teakle, a 20-year-old ruckman from WAFL club East Fremantle, in support.   

The Eagles have also named third-year tall Jarrod Brander, who is set to push for a wing role this season, with defender Tom Barrass also named after an interrupted pre-season. 

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Former Cat Jamaine Jones has not been selected after finishing his training stint with the club, but the small forward remains in the mix to earn selection via the SSP Period.

First-year rookie Anthony Treacy is the only new recruit named, with third-year midfielder Hamish Brayshaw selected on the bench.

Thursday, February 27

West Coast v Essendon, Mineral Resources Park, 4.40pm AWST

WEST COAST

B: T.Cole 28 W.Schofield 31 S.Hurn 25
HB: L.Jetta 23 T.Barrass 37 L.Duggan 14
C: J.Nelson 30 D.Sheed 4 J.Redden 8
HF: J.Petruccelle 21 J.Brander 10 J.Cripps 15
F: L.Ryan 1 J.Kennedy 17 B.Ah Chee 41
Foll: N.Naitanui 9 T.Kelly 11 L.Shuey - C 13
I/C: J.Waterman 2 T.Hickey 16 N.Vardy 19 H.Brayshaw 22 F.Watson 26 B.Williams 32 M.Hutchings 34 A.Treacy 43

Emerg: X.O'Neill 24 B.Ainsworth 33 B.Johnson 38 H.Edwards 42

Full squad: T.Cole, W.Schofield, S.Hurn, L.Jetta, T.Barrass, L.Duggan, J.Nelson, D.Sheed, J.Redden, J.Petruccelle, J.Brander, J.Cripps, L.Ryan, J.Kennedy, B.Ah Chee, N.Naitanui, T.Kelly, L.Shuey, J.Waterman, T.Hickey, N.Vardy, H.Brayshaw, B.Williams, F.Watson, M.Hutchings, A.Treacy

ESSENDON

B: A.Francis 10 M.Hurley - C 18 M.Gleeson 8
HB: J.Ridley 14 C.McBride 41 B.Zerk-Thatcher 30
C: D.Zaharakis 11 A.McGrath 1 M.Guelfi 35
HF: I.Mosquito 22 D.Smith 5 J.Laverde 15
F: A.McDonald-Tipungwuti 43 S.McKernan 44 O.Fantasia 13
Foll: A.Phillips 34 D.Shiel 9 Z.Merrett 7
I/C: H.Jones 23 J.Townsend 20 K.Langford 4 B.Ham 33 W.Snelling 40 D.Parish 3 N.Lockyer 49 B.Teakle 47

Emerg: K.Mutch 19 J.Begley 16 N.Bryan 24 D.Clarke 37

Full squad: A.Francis, M.Hurley, M.Gleeson, J.Ridley, C.McBride, B.Zerk-Thatcher, D.Zaharakis, A.McGrath, M.Guelfi, I.Mosquito, D.Smith, J.Laverde, A.McDonald-Tipungwuti, S.McKernan, O.Fantasia, A.Phillips, D.Shiel, Z.Merrett, H.Jones, J.Townsend, K.Langford, B.Ham, D.Parish, W.Snelling, N.Lockyer, B.Teakle