Three of West Coast’s most renowned big-game players are one training session away from proving their fitness for Thursday night’s crunch elimination final clash with Essendon.
Eagles captain Shannon Hurn, star ruckman Nic Naitanui and run-with expert Mark Hutchings are all in the mix to face the Bombers after getting through the group’s main hit-out at Optus Stadium last night.
General manager of football Craig Vozzo said Hurn had trained with purpose this week.
“Shannon had hamstring awareness in the Hawthorn game. He got through the game and played that out quite well,” Vozzo said.
“We had conservative management in the week preceding the game and we have built him up over the last week and he trained really well last night. It was a good, solid session.
“Assuming he pulls up well, we expect him to be available.”
Nic Naitanui, who has spent the last seven weeks on the sidelines rehabilitating an ankle syndesmosis injury, is also in the selection mix.
Vozzo said the club would make a call on the influential big man tomorrow.
“Nic has trained really well. He’s had a great block of training over the last three or four weeks in particular, culminating in a really solid week last week,” he said.
“He trained really well last night and has ticked almost every box that we have asked him to. We’re almost there and he’ll be a decision in the short term.”
Hutchings has made a quick recovery from a hamstring injury incurred during the club’s round 22 bout with Richmond and is pushing for a return against the Bombers.
The AFL’s top-rated tagger has put in a mountain of work on and off the track to make himself available for selection.
“Hutch has come up really well,” Vozzo said.
“He’s had a really good block of training and has ticked off almost everything the medical guys have asked him to do and trained really solidly last night, so he’ll be available for selection.”