North Melbourne forward Drew Petrie hasn’t processed the fact he won’t be lining up for the Kangaroos next season.
But he accepts the club’s decision.
Petrie, as well as North Melbourne veterans Brent Harvey, Michael Firrito and Nick Dal Santo, were told this week their contracts would not be renewed.
Coach Brad Scott told of his heartbreak in making a call which removes 1337 games worth of experience from the club’s list.
A chunk of Kangaroos fans have shared their sadness and anger at the move, but there’s none of those emotions from Petrie.
The 33-year-old is a Kangaroo until the end, saying he stood behind Scott’s decision even though it would end his 16-year stint at Arden Street.
“I’d hate to get in the way of the future of this footy club and I want the club to thrive now and in the next generation,” he told reporters on Friday.
“If the club doesn’t see me as part of that I’m absolutely fine with that.
“And I’m happy to step aside and make sure this side can be finals contenders for the next five years as well.”
Petrie said Scott didn’t deserve criticism for the decision, claiming the coach was “enormous in (his) career” and respectful in their dealings.
He said he walked out of their meeting on Tuesday in a haze after being told he wouldn’t be offered a new deal.
“When the words come out of the coach’s mouth it’s a bit of a surreal moment,” he said.
“You don’t really absorb it until you go away and leave the club.
“There hasn’t been any tears roll down my cheek yet. Maybe when I walk off the ground for the last time that might occur.”
Scott and the club have been criticised for the manner of the decision but Petrie said it was the right call and made the right way.
“The only part I’d like to change is the unfair way Brad’s been treated in the last three days,” he said.
“The way that the media’s reported this decision and the backlash from small pockets of North Melbourne people has been poor and I’m really disappointed that’s the case.
“Tough decisions have been made but the he’s got the best interests of the club at heart.”
Petrie said he hasn’t thought about playing on in 2017 at another club as he remains focused on Saturday night’s assignment against Greater Western Sydney, which is also the Kangaroos’ most likely elimination finals opponent.