Nic Nat impresses new coach
Nic Nat impresses new coach

West Coast coach Adam Simpson says his appreciation for the overall package of Nic Naitanui has grown since arriving at the club late last year and he is looking forward to getting a better look at the ruckman against the Western Bulldogs on Sunday.

Simpson, speaking on 6PR last night, declared Naitanui available for selection this week after two solid hit-outs in the past two weeks.

The 23-year-old managed just 11 games last season after being dogged by a groin complaint and was a shadow of the player who combined brilliantly with Dean Cox in 2012 to form the game's most dominant ruck pairing.

Naitanui and Cox played 22 of a possible 24 games together that season, amassing a combined 1171 hit-outs and 52 goals to both earn All-Australian honours, with Naitanui named as the No.1 ruckman and Cox in a forward pocket.

Simpson said while he hadn't seen too much of Naitanui in his time as an assistant at Hawthorn, he was looking forward to having the human highlight reel at his disposal this year.

"It's funny, from an outsider's point of view you probably don't appreciate it as much," he said.

"I haven't actually seen him play enough to get a good grasp of what he can deliver for the club.

"That's something I'm looking forward to seeing and seeing how best to use it for our team going forward."

Simpson said it was "no secret" recruits Elliot Yeo and Xavier Ellis would be named to play the Bulldogs at Patersons Stadium on Sunday.

However, pre-season star Mark Hutchings was ruled out yesterday with a back complaint.

The Simpson medallist from last year's WAFL grand final has been slow to recover from a knee to his back at training this month.

He is one of only three players named on the club's official injury list, with Beau Waters (shoulder) still at least six weeks away from returning and draftee Tom Barrass (hip) sidelined for another five weeks.

The West Australian

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