Brent Harvey always had the desire to play on for an 18th AFL season and, with the support of North Melbourne coach Brad Scott, that will happen next year.
Harvey, North’s games record holder who will play his 345th AFL match on Saturday against Greater Western Sydney, signed a one-year contract for 2013 on Friday.
“I think you know the time (for retirement) and my thoughts have never been ‘this could be it’,” said Harvey, who will turn 35 next season and hasn’t ruled out playing in 2014.
“I thought I was contributing to the team and I got the nod from the coach a couple of weeks ago that I was contributing to the team, and that’s all I really needed.
“At no stage at all during the season did I question my ability, or my dedication towards what I’m doing.
“When I do question that, that’s the time to decide that it’s time to move on.”
Harvey is one of North Melbourne’s most-decorated players, having won five club best and fairest awards, four All-Australian jumpers and finishing equal second in the 2007 Brownlow Medal.
He was a part of North’s 1999 premiership side, and has reason to hope his eighth-placed side won’t be making up the numbers in the finals this season.
“We haven’t really spoken about that yet (how far the team can go in September), because we want to get through this week to start with,” Harvey said.
“But the thing is, we should have belief.
“We’ve beaten Collingwood, Geelong, Adelaide – we’ve beaten some really good teams this year.
“So if the boys aren’t going to believe now, they probably never will.”
Percentage permutations loom large ahead of Saturday’s AFL clashes, but Harvey has a simple approach to the convoluted ladder.
“When you get to finals, it doesn’t really matter who you play. They’re all going to be bloody hard games,” he said.
“There’s no easy ones … so we don’t care who we’re playing.”
Depending on how other clubs fare, and the margin of their expected victory over GWS, North could be facing Fremantle, Geelong, Collingwood or West Coast in their sudden-death final next weekend.
Harvey isn’t thinking past the weekend’s clash with the cellar dwellers.
“It wouldn’t matter if we were playing top of the ladder or bottom of the ladder, the stuff we need to work on is what we’ll be focusing on.
“You can’t treat any team with contempt. You saw what happened last week with Carlton against Gold Coast.
“They probably had the same people slapping their back saying they’re going to win by 10 goals – and you look at the end result.
“They lose and, unfortunately, a coach gets sacked.”