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West Coast Eagles

WAFL preview: Naitanui to face old foe

Nic Naitanui will team up with Keegan Brooksby in the ruck against East Fremantle

West Coast’s WAFL team has received a massive boost ahead of Saturday’s clash with East Fremantle, with Nic Naitanui set to make his long-awaited return to football.

It has been 338 days since Naitanui last played a game of football.

The talismanic ruckman’s last game was against Collingwood in round 17, 2018, when he suffered his second ACL injury.

West Coast’s high performance staff will monitor Naitanui’s minutes closely throughout the contest, with the ruckman expected to play approximately 60 minutes game time.

Naitanui will face a familiar opponent on Saturday when lines up against former Dockers’ big man Jonathon Griffin.

The Sharks’ ruckman has been in ominous form as of late, averaging 37.25 hit-outs in his last four games.

Tom Barrass has also been given the green light to return following a nine-week stint on the sidelines.

The premiership defender will likely match up against Sharks’ spearhead Cameron Loersch.

The 203cm forward has proven to be a key target for East Fremantle this season, kicking 13 goals in eight games.

Barrass could also spend time on former Docker Luke Strnadica, who split his time in the ruck and the forward line during all nine games for the Sharks this season.

Captain Fraser McInnes will also return after missing the past two games with a shoulder injury.

Drew Petrie may also run out for West Coast on Saturday, with the former Eagle poised to come out of retirement to help the team's young forward line.

Their inclusion will be a much-needed lift for the Eagles, who have struggled to close out games in recent weeks, having lost their last five encounters.

However, the club is still just two games out of the top five, and with big names set to return, the tide could turn this weekend.

Bouncedown is at 11.40am at New Choice Homes Park.