Pre-season unlikely for injured Kerr

Written By Unknown on Minggu, 06 Januari 2013 | 14.43

SIDELINED: Daniel Kerr is set to miss the bulk of the pre-season with a knee injury. Picture: Daniel Wilkins Source: PerthNow

ELITE West Coast midfielder Daniel Kerr could be thrown straight into the Round 1 Western Derby without playing an NAB Cup game.

Kerr, who had a knee arthroscopy last month, will be carefully managed by the Eagles throughout the pre-season as the club seeks to ready his battle-hardened body for a 13th season.

West Coast football operations manager Neale Daniher said Kerr, 29, would not require pre-season matches to be ready for the derby.

"He'll just slowly build up over January, February, March," Daniher said. "We don't think he needs to have a lot of games in the NAB to be ready to go.

"Given he's such a senior player, and played 24 games last year, all his preparation will be around building up for Round 1 AFL."

All-Australian pair Nic Naitanui (groin) and Beau Waters (hip) are the club's other significant injury worries, with Naitanui likely to miss the start of the home-and-away season.

Daniher could not say when Naitanui would be fit to play, but was confident Waters would be available for Round 1 after having hip surgery last month.

Naitanui, who made a cameo appearance at Friday's training session at McGillivray Oval for some handball drills, is hoping to start running on an anti-gravity treadmill later this month.

The Eagles will launch their season against Fremantle at Patersons Stadium in a twilight game on March 23.

Comeback pair Mark LeCras (knee) and Mark Nicoski (hamstring) are back training with the main group and are on target to resume during the NAB Cup.

It is unlikely they will play in the triangular pre-season opener against the Dockers and Geelong on February 16.

Second-year forward Murray Newman, who was thrashed by coach John Worsfold in a 2km time trial in November, is being forced to improve his aerobic capacity before he can join in full training with his teammates.

Newman jogged laps with Jamie Bennell and Blayne Wilson on Friday and was the last to leave the track as he completed a punishing cone-running drill.

The 19-year-old, who is also facing a serious charge over a nightclub incident, is likely to be mostly running for the rest of the month, away from the main group.

Midfielder Chris Masten maintained his title as the club's best runner with a narrow win in the 2km time trial at the WA Athletics Stadium on Thursday.

Masten was one of 16 Eagles who posted personal-best times as they resumed from a two-week Christmas break.

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