Naitanui and Rioli prepare to return to the West Coast

The West Coast prepares to defeat the superstar trio of Nick Knightani, Willie Rioli and Elliot Yu in Sunday’s game against the Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium.

Naitanui missed the previous two games with a knee injury, while Yu missed three weeks due to a hamstring strain.

Ryoli missed the previous two matches after returning to the Northern Territory following the sudden death of his father.

Jack Petruchel (hamstring) is also set to raise his hand for selection against the Suns, with the possible quartet’s return as a welcome boost for the Eagles as they try to avoid the wooden spoon.

The West Coast (2-16) is only 3.2 per cent ahead of last-place North Melbourne with four rounds remaining.

Eagles midfielder Tim Kelly is also expected to play the Gold Coast despite his efforts to shed four points in Sunday’s 28-point loss to St Kilda at Optus.

Kelly suffered a cork on his quad a week ago and was a bit suspicious of facing the Saints.

The former cat was highly tagged by Marcus Windhager, but Simpson was adamant that Kelly was unharmed.

“I think he got hit that day,” Simpson said.

“Nothing wrong with Tim. He’s out of Corky. He’s had a light week.

“I’m sure he didn’t want me to say he held him back. Those weren’t the reactions we got.”

St Kilda coach Brett Ratten is toying with the idea of ​​handing injured midfielder Dan Hanbury a recall from the NFL.

Hannebery has yet to play an AFL game this year due to a calf injury, but he could return for Saturday’s clash with Hawthorn at Marvel Stadium after passing two VFLs unharmed.

The 31-year-old only managed two games for the Saints last year, and Ratten said it’s important not to place too many expectations on him if he returns this week.

“We just want Dan back and play,” Ratten said.

“He’s put two really good weeks together and that’s been great. His driving and his voice are very encouraging to others. He gives a lot of direction. That’s what he does really well.”

“He’s played 15 games in (the past) three to four years. We don’t have high expectations, we just want him to be busy.”

Saints forward Jack Billings, who sustained a back injury at the end of the game in the opening minutes against West Coast, will be evaluated this week.

Jade Gresham is also in doubt after injuring his knee against the Eagles.

St Kilda (10-8) fell by a percentage from eighth place with games against Hawthorne, Geelong, Brisbane and Sydney to end the home and away season.


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