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West Coast Eagles

Simpson: Naitanui on track to play first final

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: Nic Naitanui of the Eagles enters the arena during the 2019 AFL round 16 match between the Fremantle Dockers and the West Coast Eagles at the Optus Stadium on July 06, 2019 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Photos)
Adam Simpson says Nic Naitanui should be available for week one of the finals

Nic Naitanui is shaping as a certain starter for West Coast's first final, with the star ruckman jumping again and expected to resume full training next week after overcoming his ankle injury.

The Eagles can still finish anywhere from first to fifth, and won't know who they will open their September campaign against until after round 23.

But coach Adam Simpson is increasingly confident his marquee big man will be available for the business end of the season.

"(Naitanui) started jumping during the week, so I think he's on track hopefully to be playing in the first week of the finals," Simpson said.

"We'll see how we go. He's got to tick … probably two more boxes, but he's on the right path.

"I think he'll train fully next week.

"He's pulling up well."

However, Simpson's immediate focus is on facing Hawthorn at Optus Stadium on Saturday night.

The Hawks can still finish eighth if they upset West Coast and Adelaide defeats the Bulldogs.

Meanwhile, the Eagles could know before the game whether one of their paths into the top two has opened up if Geelong loses to Carlton.

"We're not taking this game lightly at all, we think it's going to be a real battle," Simpson said.

"They're playing for a similar prize to us with a spot in the eight, so it's going to be game on.

"I think we're one of many games, it's going to be like a final.

"It's tight for us, I think it's tight for a few sides."

West Coast has recalled Liam Duggan from an ankle issue along with Chris Masten.

"We've been really happy with his form this year," Simpson said of Masten.

"He's been squeezed out a couple of times, but that's (Masten's contract) something we're working through.

"He's getting to the back end of his career, but his role that he plays for us is really important."