NIC NAITANUI'S training loads will continue to be managed throughout the pre-season to ensure there is no repeat of his injury-plagued 2013.

Ongoing groin issues stemming from surgery in November last year troubled the Eagles' star ruckman throughout last season.

The 2012 All Australian missed the first five matches and managed just 11 games before prematurely ending his season after round 17.

West Coast football operations manager Craig Vozzo says Naitanui's return to full training will continue to be a slow process, to ensure he has no long-term problems.

"He's gradually building up. Again there's no rush with Nic," Vozzo told

"Let's try to get it right for the long-term, is the approach, and slowly but surely we are getting there.

"It can be frustrating at times for any player, not just Nic, spending extended periods in a rehab program.

"But Nic is handling it pretty well, we think, and we're keen to keep that graduated improvement going and we're confident we will."

The 2014 season looms as an important one for both Naitanui and the Eagles. The 23-year-old is out of contract at the end of 2014 and given his star power, there is already some speculation his next contract could yield in excess of $1 million a season.

The Eagles announced on Friday that Josh Kennedy, Jack Darling and 2013 best and fairest Matt Priddis had all signed contract extensions although there were no specific details provided.

Vozzo, the Eagles list manager before his promotion to the head of football operations, said that Naitanui remained a high priority for the Eagles but his contract negotiations were no different to any other.
"It's just normal business for us," Vozzo said.
"It's no different to any other year when important players are coming out of contract. That process will take its course."
Premiership player Beau Waters is another Eagle who will be closely monitored throughout the pre-season after shoulder surgery.
Like Naitanui, Waters followed his 2012 All Australian season with an injury ravaged 2013. He managed just seven games and required both knee and shoulder surgeries after his last game in round 15.
Waters' recovery has been slower than expected.
"There was some initial post surgery issues that we needed to deal with," Vozzo said.
"We're on top of those. He's on top of them and he's now training with the main group as of this week and looking good.
"Again it was a graduated build up to main training. He's now in that and we'll monitor him very closely because he's a very important player."