Josh Kennedy trains at the MCG.
Josh Kennedy trains at the MCG.

Eagles book rare MCG session

West Coast has received special permission to train on the MCG in a bid to topple Hawthorn at the venue this weekend as Nic Naitanui prepares for his return.

The Eagles have received permission to train at the venue on Friday to help topple the Hawks at the MCG for the first time since 2006.

It is rare for interstate clubs to hold training sessions at the MCG because the venue is often booked-out with two or three AFL games across the weekend.

It is available for interstate clubs to conduct familiarisation sessions on days when the ground is otherwise not being used.



There could be a big fitness test for gun defender Tom Barrass who is trying to overcome a calf problem to replace suspended premiership hero Jeremy McGovern.

Without Barrass or McGovern, the Eagles could be light-on in the key defensive stocks as Hawthorn attempt to snap a three-game losing streak.

West Coast superstar Nic Naitanui will make his return from his second knee reconstruction on Saturday after one game back in the WAFL last weekend.

The powerhouse ruckman will likely be on a minutes restriction as he builds fitness in his first senior appearance since Round 17 last year.

Hawthorn has its own selection headaches as coach Alastair Clarkson weighs up whether to stick with veterans Jarryd Roughead and Paul Puopolo against the Eagles.

The pair had nine possessions each against the Swans on Friday night, while Luke Breust (nine disposals), James Sicily and Tom Scully (eight each) were also quiet.

Clarkson suggested Sicily could be swung back into defence after unsuccessful stints forward over the past fortnight in the losses to Essendon and Sydney.

West Coast has won its past four-straight games at the MCG over Collingwood and Carlton, including last year's stunning Grand Final triumph, ending its hoodoo at the ground.

But the Eagles are scheduled to play at the venue only three times this home-and-away season including the Round 23 match against Richmond.

Eagles' chief executive Trevor Nisbett has confirmed the club always asks the AFL to schedule it at least three games at the home of footy each year.

"The more times you play there the better prepared you are for finals," Nisbett said. "We always request a minimum of three."

Clarkson's men have enjoyed a good run against West Coast, winning eight of their past 11 games against the Eagles spanning back to 2012.

News Corp Australia

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