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Worsfold expects Nic Nat to fly higher
Worsfold expects Nic Nat to fly higher

West Coast coach John Worsfold has sent an ominous warning to the rest of the competition, saying Nic Naitanui will only get better and is yet to displace Dean Cox as the club's best ruckman.

Naitanui was best on ground against Carlton last Thursday night and had a career-high 25 possessions.

Carlton had no answer to his athleticism or aggression, and Collingwood ruckman Darren Jolly faces the tough task of combating the 22-year-old at the MCG on Saturday.

Naitanui has been the preferred option at centre bounces this season and Cox has spent more time playing as a forward.

But Cox was best on ground when Naitanui missed round six because of a hamstring injury.

Worsfold said Naitanui still had room for improvement and Cox deserved to be considered the club's best ruckman.

"I think Coxy was the All- Australian ruckman last year. Until Nic pinches that title off him, we'll go on that," Worsfold said.

"He (Naitanui) will continue to get better. That may not mean his possessions go up a massive amount, but his understanding of what he can bring to the team will keep improving.

"It's not a high priority for us, the number of possessions he gets. It's his role within the team and how he goes about it."

Naitanui and Cox's ability to give their midfield first use of the ball will be vital against the Magpies.

Collingwood will be without Scott Pendlebury, who has averaged 33 possessions and one goal from his last four games against the Eagles.

But Dane Swan will remain a significant challenge after his 42 possessions against Melbourne before the bye.

West Coast could be without defender Adam Selwood, who has received treatment in hospital for an arm infection in recent days.

Beau Waters (suspension) and Sam Butler (hamstring) are set to return.

Worsfold again dismissed criticism of his team's playing style after Collingwood's Sharrod Wellingham said the Eagles ducked into tackles to win free kicks.

"We don't have any issues with how we play the game," Worsfold said.