To any North Melbourne fans that might have wanted to attend Brent Harvey’s history-making 400th AFL game in Melbourne this week, coach Brad Scott has a message: blame the man himself.
The Kangaroos hierarchy attempted to schedule Harvey’s 400th game in Melbourne, and the club had only two interstate trips to Brisbane and Hobart set down out of the seven-match home-and-away period when the veteran was likely to hit the milestone.
But Scott didn’t count on Harvey playing every game in 2015 given he’s 38 years old and has a bit of history with tribunal bans.
“When the AFL asked for fixturing requests it was a factor, we did think it’d be nice for Boomer to play a home game in his 400th,” Scott said on Wednesday.
“But we thought at his age he might miss one or two.
“I actually thought he’d be a fair chance to be suspended but he hasn’t done that either.
“He just continues to defy the odds … it falls interstate, which is no drama for us at all.
Given Harvey’s form and North’s precarious position of 10th on the ladder, Scott said resting the superstar to time his milestone in front of home fans hadn’t entered his mind and he’ll line up against the Lions at the Gabba on Saturday.
“We pick the team that gives us the best chance of winning each week and so far that’s been having Boomer in the team each week,” he added.
The ‘team first’ mantra has emanated from Arden Street more strongly each week as the milestone approaches.
And it will apply when it comes time to consider Harvey playing on into a 21st season at the club.
Harvey plans to chat with Scott after his 400th to talk about 2016.
Scott said he would apply three criteria to any decision on whether Harvey plays on before making a mutual decision.
“If he’s playing really well, his body holds up and he’s playing his role for the team, there’s every chance he plays on,” he said.
“(It’s) later in the year when you make those decisions because all sorts of different things can happen.
“We’re not interested in putting the individual ahead of the team.”
The Kangaroos need to break a 10-year losing streak at the Gabba against the last-placed Lions.
Drew Petrie appears certain to return after suspension, while Scott said Lindsay Thomas was in the mix despite a well-functioning forward line and a stand-out performance from Robbie Nahas in the VFL.