West Coast star Andrew Gaff told Triple M’s Rush Hour that ruckman Nic Naitanui probably won’t play in the Eagles’ semi-final against Greater Western Sydney at Spotless Stadium on Saturday night.
Naitanui hasn’t played since round 22 last year when he ruptured his ACL against Hawthorn.
The All-Australian big man is back in full training and is pressing his claims for a shock return to the Eagles’ line-up.
But Gaff said Naitanui would be more likely to play later in the finals if West Coast kept winning.
“He’s been doing quite a lot of tackling and all that stuff the last couple of weeks,” Gaff said.
“He’s probably not going to play this week. I’m not too sure.
“With ‘Vards’ (Nathan Vardy) and (Drew) Petrie playing so well against (Paddy) Ryder last week, it would be pretty unfair on those guys.
“In future weeks, who knows? But we know how good he’s going to be, it’s just whether he is match fit enough coming into the next couple of weeks.”
If West Coast beat GWS this week, they will face Richmond in a preliminary final at the MCG on Saturday week.