West Coast coach Adam Simpson admits he’s concerned by Nic Naitanui’s ongoing Achilles tendon soreness, but there’s no need to ring the alarm bells just yet.
Naitanui was seen on crutches on Monday, with Simpson later revealing the 2012 All-Australian had been battling an Achilles problem for more than a month.
Simpson is confident Naitanui will be fit for Saturday night’s crunch clash with Adelaide at Domain Stadium, but a final call won’t be made until later this week.
“Going to the club on crutches … (there were) alarm bells everywhere,” Simpson told Perth radio station 6PR.
“But he’s probably feeling the same he’s felt for the last five weeks with his Achilles. They just get a bit sore.
“It’s probably exactly what it was like last week, and the week before, and the week before.
“It’s very delicate on occasions. We’ve just got to manage it the right way. It’s a concern, but I think he’ll still be right to play.”
Naitanui has played a key role for the Eagles this season, averaging 35 hit-outs a game to power the club’s midfield.
But his influence around the ground in last week’s eight-point loss to the Bulldogs was limited, with the 26-year-old tallying just six disposals in a game where he also broke his nose.
Naitanui’s availability will be crucial to West Coast’s hopes of toppling the high-scoring Crows, who rely heavily on ruckman Sam Jacobs.
Simpson is confident star defender Jeremy McGovern will recover from a viral infection in time to play.