It was a case of a new year, a new coach but the same old questions about Nic Naitanui as West Coast held their first open training session of 2014 yesterday.

Adam Simpson has only been in the job for three months but has already become accustomed to the regular questions about the fitness of his star ruckman.

"Ah the Nic question," Simpson quipped when Naitanui's name came up at his press conference.

Naitanui continued to work away from the main group at McGillivray Oval as he is held back from full training after a 2013 wrecked by injury.

Simpson was positive about the 23-year-old's progress but tight-lipped about the chances of him playing in next month's NAB Challenge games.

"He's progressing well," Simpson said.

"We actually trained on Saturday and I had a quick look over and he's running the best I have seen. We are hoping to gradually get him into full training by the end of January.

"Let's get him to full training first and then work out how we manage his loads. There is still a fair bit of time before NAB Cup.

"It's (the groin) a week-to-week sort of thing, so at the moment it's all good."

At the same time last year, Naitanui was still recovering from groin surgery.

Naitanui regularly said during last pre-season he was on track for a round-one start, but didn't end up playing until round six - and only then as a substitute.

The 2012 All-Australian played the next 10 games but was never able to consistently produce his best, averaging just 11 disposals, two marks and 25 hit-outs as the Eagles spiralled out of finals contention.

Simpson also conceded vice-captain Beau Waters was a 50-50 chance to require more surgery on his troublesome right shoulder, which could consign the defender to another long stint on the sidelines.

Waters had successful surgery on the shoulder last July after managing just seven games for the season, but it became infected, forcing screws put in during the operation to be removed sooner than was hoped.

The club will make a decision on the 27-year-old in the next fortnight, with the captaincy and leadership group also to be decided by the end of the month.

Naitanui and Waters are the main concerns for Simpson, who was pleased to have good numbers on the track post-Christmas.

"We've got 35 training today, which I think is pretty high compared to what we've had in the past," Simpson said.

The West Australian

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