West Coast have warned Collingwood to target Nic Naitanui at their own risk after the Magpies revealed they plan to batter the Eagles in Saturday night's MCG semi-final.
Naitanui was extraordinarily dominant when West Coast thrashed Collingwood just three weeks ago, although the Magpies were without their No.1 ruckman Darren Jolly.
Naitanui also almost inspired an Eagles upset of the Magpies with a dazzling performance at the MCG during last year's finals series.
Together with ruck partner Dean Cox and the Eagles' wealth of tall forwards, the spring-heeled big man again looms as a key weapon in Saturday night's sudden-death clash.
The Magpies brutally attacked Hawthorn early in last weekend's qualifying final loss, led by veteran defender Chris Tarrant's harassment of Lance Franklin.
Asked whether Tarrant could this week target Naitanui, Magpies defensive coach Ben Hart said that might happen.
But Tarrant and the other Magpies backman will be encouraged to get physical regardless of the identity of their opponents.
"It's the way that Chris plays his best footy, I think, is he's aggressive," Hart told reporters on Friday.
"Whoever he lines up on I'm sure at times he'll be putting his body into them.
"It's probably something we expect from our guys, to be physical and try to stamp themselves."
But Eagles assistant coach Scott Burns warned that Naitanui would be no meek victim.
"I don't think too much worries Nic, you might have to be careful roughing Nic up a little bit," the former Collingwood captain said.
"It's finals, there's going to be plenty of niggle at the start and throughout so I wouldn't isolate just the one player."
Burns said the Eagles' coaching staff wouldn't be instructing their charges to be unusually aggressive.
"We just want to attack the ball and body as hard as we possibly can," he said.
The Eagles' attack boasts tall forwards Josh Kennedy, Jack Darling and Quinten Lynch, the high-leaping Josh Hill and at times Cox and Naitanui.
They could stretch a Collingwood defence missing suspended skipper Nick Maxwell.
Replacement Tyson Goldsack, returning from an ankle injury, is expected to spend much of his time in defence despite playing mostly as a forward this year.
Burns expects West Coast's giant attack to grow as a weapon as the game wears on.
The Magpies hope to gain their own edge by bringing the ball to ground then rebounding through the likes of Heath Shaw and Ben Johnson and to make use of their own resurgent tall target Travis Cloke.
But both clubs noted their midfields' ability to provide good service and pressure opposition delivery could prove decisive.
The Eagles have regained midfielder Matt Rosa just three weeks after breaking his collarbone, with Burns saying Rosa passed a searching fitness test this week pain-free.Hart dismissed fitness doubts over Dayne Beams and Dale Thomas, despite the key Collingwood midfield pair failing to train fully earlier this week.
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