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Nic Naitanui, Willie Rioli on track for new Eagles deals

Nic Naitanui of the Eagles is expected to play on in 2023. Will Russell/AFL Photos via Getty Images

West Coast coach Adam Simpson expects Nic Naitanui to play on next year, and he's not too worried that Willie Rioli hasn't yet re-signed.

Naitanui has been beset by knee injuries this season and also had his fitness questioned by some outsiders.

But the 32-year-old remains one of the best ruckmen in the competition and the Eagles are set to offer him a fresh deal at the end of the season.

Rioli has been offered a two-year contract extension, but he could attract significant interest if he explores his options elsewhere.

The 27-year-old will miss Saturday night's western derby against Fremantle so he can spend more time in the Northern Territory following the funeral of his father.

Simpson isn't reading too much into the fact Rioli is yet to put pen to paper.

"I don't think we're really too worried about that," Simpson said.

"He's been dealing with a fair bit the last five weeks, so we've respected Willie's situation.

"Hopefully we get him back next week for Geelong, which would be great because he could have easily stayed up north for an extra week with the family.

"I think he's going to sacrifice a bit of that to come back down and help us finish off the year."

When asked whether Naitanui will play on next season, Simpson replied: "Yeah. It's more than likely going to work that way."

"We'll get to the end of the season and we'll work it out properly.

"We've got a few guys in that boat, going through the back end of their career and what we do from a list point of view and what they want to do as well.

"Hopefully he finishes off the year well."

Veteran Shannon Hurn is expected to receive a fresh deal, but Josh Kennedy has retired.

Meanwhile, Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir is confident skipper Nat Fyfe will return in next week's match against GWS.

Fyfe has been sidelined since injuring his hamstring in round 19, but he's steadily building up his training loads.

"He's going to be available for selection next week," Longmuir said.

Forward Matt Taberner, who injured his calf last week, won't be fit until week one of the finals at the earliest.