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Gov a good chance to play Tigers: Simpson

Travis King, AFL.com.au  May 15, 2018 8:00 AM

Jeremy McGovern could return against the Tigers

Jeremy McGovern could return against the Tigers

Adam Simpson is optimistic intercept marking star Jeremy McGovern will be fit for the top-of-the-table clash with Richmond, and has hinted at boosted game-time for Nic Naitanui after his one-match suspension.  

McGovern didn't travel to Sydney for the 25-point win over the Giants due to a calf niggle and only completed stationary skills work during a light session at Subiaco Oval on Monday.

The 26-year-old is one of several Eagles who could return from injury, with Dom Sheed (foot) and Lewis Jetta (calf) also in the mix.

"We're training tomorrow. So if (McGovern) gets through the week I think he might be OK," Simpson told Channel Seven. 

"We've got several players who will hopefully be available, but we've got to see them train first. 

"At this stage, it's looking OK, but we won't know until Thursday." 

Naitanui was controversially suspended from the GWS trip for a dangerous tackle on Port Adelaide midfielder Karl Amon, but the Eagles took the opportunity to get more miles into his legs.

The 201cm ruckman worked one-on-one completing repeat effort skills with a trainer during Monday's brief session and ran laps at a decent clip.  

While the Eagles were frustrated to lose the influential big man, he might now be ready to lift his minutes against Tigers bulldozer Toby Nankervis after playing 57.8 per cent game time this season. 

"Without the risk of collision we got to get a bit of work into him (last week)," Simpson said.  

"Hopefully, he's at full-strength on the weekend and he might even be able to play a few more minutes as well."

Speaking earlier on 3AW, Simpson conceded Naitanui would have to try to curb his aggressive tackling, despite his obvious frustration at what he last week termed a "Nic rule" due to his size and power.  

"He's going to have to work through it. If that's a precedent now – I'm not one for saying it's right or wrong – if that's the way it is, we'll adapt," Simpson said.

"I'm sure he'll try his hardest to, I just hope he can. We'll work on techniques and decision-making, all those things. We're pretty pragmatic here."   

Simpson and his coaching staff will give strong consideration to a run-with role on Dustin Martin after North Melbourne tagger Ben Jacobs kept the Tigers superstar to 16 touches.

However, the Eagles coach highlighted Richmond's collective as the main impediment to West Coast notching eight-straight wins for the first time since 2005.  

"The top-end talent is contributing and quite often spoken about but it's the whole group and it's the way they play, it's their confidence and all those things that seem to be giving them consistent footy," Simpson said.

"Obviously, Mark Hutchings is our go-to in terms of trying to shut someone down and we've had Elliot Yeo go head-to-head with some talent as well. 

"Those discussions will be had in the next few days."