West Coast ruck duo avoid dreaded knife
Nic Naitanui. Pic: Bill Hatto/WA News

West Coast have been given the ideal start to life without Dean Cox, with Nic Naitanui and Scott Lycett both avoiding end-of-season surgery.

The club's premier ruckmen will be fresh for day one of the pre-season after they emerged unscathed from the year.

It will be Naitanui's first off-season without surgery in four years.

There was other good news as the AFL match review panel threw out the match-day report on spearhead Josh Kennedy for collecting Gold Coast's David Swallow high in Sunday's win at Metricon Stadium.

The panel ruled Kennedy's actions were an attempt to smother or tackle.

It was a welcome reprieve for West Coast's leading goal kicker, who had already been suspended for one match for a high bump on Sydney's Zak Jones in round 16.

Naitanui and Luke Shuey can accept $1200 fines for their part in a second-quarter melee.

West Coast are expected to announce in the next 48 hours which players will be available to East Perth in the WAFL finals, starting Sunday.

Lycett, who played 12 AFL games this season, won't play in September, nor will exciting young talent Jeremy McGovern.

But the finals are a potential lifeline for out-of-contract Eagles Jacob Brennan, Ashley Smith, Adam Carter and Blayne Wilson.

Josh Hill is another player yet to re-sign, but he did play in West Coast's last five matches.

Jamie Cripps and Sam Butler should both be signed again on the back of solid seasons.

West Coast have to make at least two forced list changes, with Cox and Darren Glass retiring.

A fully fit Naitanui will be a major asset for West Coast heading into next year when a finals appearance will be expected.

The 24-year-old played 20 matches this year, but showed only glimpses of his 2012 All-Australian form.

He has had delayed starts to his past three pre-seasons because of groin and shoulder surgery.

·Eagle Fraser McInnes will face the WAFL Tribunal tonight after rejecting the report review panel's offer of a two-game suspension for the bump that knocked out Claremont's Brenden Abbott on Saturday.

And Perth defender Chris Billings will defend his report for a sling tackle on West Perth's Brayden Antonio.

The West Australian

Popular videos

Compare & Save

Our Picks

Compare & Save

Follow Us

More from The West