Big tick given for Eagle Naitanui comeback

West Coast's Nic Naitanui has made a promising start to his comeback from injury in the WAFL. (AAP)

West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui was impressive in his comeback from a second knee reconstruction against East Fremantle in the WAFL.

West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui is on track to face off against Hawthorn at the MCG next week after making a successful playing return on Saturday.

Naitanui got through about 64 minutes of West Coast's 72-point WAFL win over East Fremantle, finishing with 10 disposals, 25 hitouts, four tackles, and three marks.

The 29-year-old dominated in his ruck duels against former Dockers duo Jon Griffin and Luke Strnadica, with some of his deft taps setting up goals.

Naitanui's biggest highlight came in the second quarter when he unleashed a crunching tackle on East Fremantle's Morgan Davies.

Davies took a few steps before Naitanui came in from the opposite direction, with the force of the tackle driving the 75kg midfielder back a metre and then into the ground.

Naitanui spent 34 minutes on the field in the first half, tallying nine disposals, 12 hitouts, four tackles and two marks.

The 161-game veteran was quieter in the third quarter as heavy rain lashed East Fremantle Oval, spending large periods up forward.

Naitanui played the first eight minutes of the final quarter before being put on ice for the day.

It was Naitanui's first competitive hitout since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during the round 17 win over Collingwood last year.

That injury came just two years after Naitanui tore the ACL in his left knee.

Eagles football operations manager Craig Vozzo was delighted with Naitanui's return.

"He blew up early but hit back pretty well," Vozzo said.

"He got a bit of the footy. He was jumping well, moving well - all the athletic signs are pretty good."

Naitanui is almost certain to play against Hawthorn next week, with the veteran slated for about 70-80 minutes of action.

"He's physically in really good shape," Vozzo said.

"He'll lean up a little bit as he plays more and more AFL footy, but we couldn't be happier with his physical condition."

Tom Barrass also made his comeback on Saturday, with the defender impressive with 15 disposals and seven marks in his return from foot surgery.

The Eagles will monitor how Barrass pulls up before deciding whether to play him against the Hawks as well.

Vozzo said the club was likely to challenge Jeremy McGovern's one-match ban for the shove on Essendon's Matt Guelfi.

Source AAP

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