Naitanui hits track for West Coast Eagles

Nov 20, 2017 - 6:09 AM West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui made an early pre-season appearance on Monday as coach Adam Simpson declared as many as six starting spots up for grabs at the Eagles for round one.

Naitanui missed all of the 2017 AFL season with a knee injury, but joined the club's first to fourth year players at Lathlain Park on Monday.

Chris Masten was the other senior player to join in.

Nine other players are in Cambodia helping to build houses for a remote village.

West Coast struggled without Naitanui last season, and the 27-year-old will shoulder the bulk of the club's premiership hopes in 2018.

The Eagles have entered a new era following a spate of retirements and delistings at the end of last season.

Sam Mitchell, Matt Priddis, Drew Petrie and Sam Butler all retired, while Sharrod Wellingham, Josh Hill and Jonathan Giles were among the players to be shown the door.

But despite it being a fresh era, Simpson isn't writing off his team's flag hopes.

Instead, he pointed out that the last two premiers - Western Bulldogs and Richmond - defied the critics to win a flag.

"It's just the unknown isn't it? It's a new era really," Simpson said.

"Our list changed by 13 players, which is pretty unique.

"There's probably five or six spots up for grabs for round one,

"We're excited about what our future holds. We're not going to put a lid on anything.

"We finished sixth last year, so I'm pretty sure I'm not going to listen to (the doubters)."

Simpson has high hopes for young trio Willie Rioli, Jake Waterman, and Daniel Venables, who all failed to play last year because of injury.

Source: AAP

No one has shouted yet.
Be the first!