NIC NAITANUI is a master when it comes to doing the hard stuff on a football field.

Freakish marks, 360-degree ruck taps, contested clearances and tackle-breaking runs all feature prominently in his repertoire.

But West Coast coach Adam Simpson has set Naitanui his hardest challenge yet - getting easy possessions.

During his 97-game career, 73 per cent of Naitanui's possessions have been contested.

Given Naitanui faces a dog-fight for almost every possession he gets, it means he doesn't rack up big numbers.
Simpson wants that to change.

Although the rookie coach is still eager for Naitanui to win the hard ball, he wants the 24-year-old to follow in the footsteps of champion ruckman Dean Cox by learning how to rack up easy possessions as well.

On average, 58 per cent of Cox's possessions are uncontested, with his ability to read the play allowing him to inflict major damage when he gets the ball in space.

"Naitanui's great at hunting the ball," Simpson told Perth radio station 6PR.

"The challenge for me as a coach is to try to educate him on how to get some of those easy touches around the ground.

"There's no one better to learn that off than Coxy."

Naitanui has averaged just one mark per game this season, with the 2012 All Australian still finding his feet after spending the best part of 18 months battling groin problems.

But Naitanui showed signs he was nearing his best in last week's loss to Collingwood, with the West Australian racking up 17 possessions to go with his 24 hit-outs.

Naitanui, who re-signed with the Eagles for a further five years last week, will have fond memories when he lines up against North Melbourne at Patersons Stadium on Sunday night.

In the corresponding fixture last year, Naitanui took a pack mark in the dying seconds before kicking the winning goal after the final siren.

The Eagles are precariously placed at 4-5, but they will leapfrog the eighth-placed Kangaroos (5-4) if they can secure victory.

West Coast has been bolstered by the return of Mark LeCras from suspension, with the 27-year-old's class around goal sure to cause North's defenders all sorts of headaches.