Nic Naitanui has impressed at training. Picture: AAP Images
Nic Naitanui has impressed at training. Picture: AAP Images

Nic Nat locked in for footy return

WEST Coast star Nic Naitanui will make his long-awaited return to football in a WAFL practice match with East Perth this weekend.

Coach Adam Simpson confirmed Naitanui's return before training at Lathlain Park this morning.

The Royals take on East Fremantle at East Fremantle Oval on Saturday, with Naitanui to play limited minutes in his first game since rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament against Hawthorn in August, 2016.

He remains no certainty to play round one against Sydney at Optus Stadium.

Simpson said the key was still how Naitanui pulled up after each test.

"He has done everything we needed him to do, so the next phase is for him to hit some bodies," Simpson said.

"He has beaten up half of our coaching staff. A lot of the stuff he has done has been one-on-one, so now there are no intra-clubs to play so the next phase is to get some combative work against opposition.

Nic Naitanui has impressed at training. Picture: Getty Images
Nic Naitanui has impressed at training. Picture: Getty Images

"We will do it at East Perth just to manage the minutes and the positioning and the rotations, that sort of thing, but he is ready and we will see how he goes.

"It goes back to what I said a few weeks ago. We have got him to a point so let's see if he gets through the game and gets through training today, but we are pretty confident we can get some minutes into him."

West Coast has its final JLT Community Series hit-out against Fremantle at Joondalup's HBF Arena on Sunday.


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