Even if North Melbourne lose Saturday night’s elimination final, Jed Anderson hopes it doesn’t end Brent Harvey’s long-standing connection with the AFL club.
Anderson isn’t in denial about Harvey being shown the door at Arden Street or the prospect of the 38-year-old playing on at another club in 2017.
But the speedster is upbeat his mentor will consider a seamless transition into coaching next year.
“He’s been at the club for a really long time and it’d be hard to see him go. I’d love for him to hang around and help develop us younger boys,” Anderson told AAP.
“We could learn more from him and all the things he’s done over the last 20 years.
“But he’ll decide what he wants to do. Everyone’s really grateful for everything he has done.”
Anderson is nearing the end of his first season at North, having joined the club in last year’s trade period.
The 22-year-old is one of many Kangaroos indebted to Harvey, who boasts a record 431 games of experience at the highest level.
Anderson has been picking Harvey’s brain throughout the year, desperate to improve his own approach.
“I’ve been trying to do all the things he does, watching his vision with him and going over it all. Working out what is going on in his head when he does the things he does on the field,” he said.
“You look at how he finds the footy and what he does with it – it’s always exciting isn’t it?
“But the other side is how he goes about it. All the little things he does to prepare himself.
“He’s helping me grow my game and I’m trying to adapt and build my game around his position. He does it really well and hopefully in the next few years I can start to grow like he’s grown over the course of 20 years.”
Coach Brad Scott declared no player will be able to fill the void left by Harvey a fortnight ago, when the announced the AFL icon wouldn’t be offered a new contract despite his impressive form in 2016.
It is a statement Anderson agrees with, having been floated as the closest thing North have to a like-for-like replacement by some judges.
“They’re big shoes to fill aren’t they? There’s a few good small forwards that we have here. We’ll all need to grow,” he said.
Anderson’s more pressing concern is a knock-out clash with Adelaide this weekend.
He knows there will be a lot of added emotion as Harvey, Drew Petrie, Nick Dal Santo and Michael Firrito prepare for their final game at North, which will come at some point in the next four weeks.
“The boys really want to send them out on a high note,” Anderson said.