PERTH, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 11: Nic Naitanui works on running drills during a West Coast Eagles AFL training session at Domain Stadium on September 11, 2017 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui will make his long-awaited return to football on Saturday, after more than 18 months out of the game.

Naitanui ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament against Hawthorn in round 22, 2016, and hasn’t played a match since that day.

That will all change on Saturday, when the 27-year-old takes the field for East Perth against East Fremantle in the WAFL.

From there, the Eagles will monitor Naitanui’s recovery and fitness levels, before deciding when he will make his return to the AFL side.

The Eagles decided it would be better to play Naitanui in the WAFL first, instead of West Coast’s JLT Community Series match with Fremantle on Sunday.