Nic Naitanui will return to the MCG on Thursday night, this time in the role of a commentator for the opening match of the 2019 AFL season.

The West Coast ruckman will be a guest commentator in the box, providing analysis alongside the 7AFL calling team led by Brian Taylor.

The now traditional opening round one clash between Carlton and Richmond will be live on 7Mate from 4pm.

Naitanui did some TV commentary as he recovered from his first knee injury in 2017, providing rare insight into tactics during a ruck contest during a clash against Geelong.

The Eagles star continues to make progress in his recovery from his second knee reconstruction and there are hopes he could resume playing by the middle of May.

He worked with the Eagles coaching staff in the latter part of last season, including the grand final where he helped Scott Lycett and Nathan Vardy quell the influence of Collingwood’s Brodie Grundy.