North Melbourne great Brent Harvey might not be angry at his AFL club, but plenty of supporters remain livid at the Kangaroos’ shock cull.
Harvey admitted he was a bit flat and sad after being informed this week he would not be offered a contract for next season, along with teammates Drew Petrie, Nick Dal Santo and Michael Firrito.
The AFL’s games record holder released a heartfelt message on his Facebook page on Thursday as backlash over his axing continued to grow.
Angry supporters are planning a protest at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night when the Roos take on Greater Western Sydney in what could be the last game the quartet play in Melbourne.
An online petition calling for the club to reverse its decision and offer Harvey a one-year deal has also been set up, with more than 3300 signatures gathered by Thursday evening.
North and coach Brad Scott were roundly criticised over the timing and manner of Wednesday’s announcement.
The eighth-placed Roos still have a finals series to contest and premiership player David King has deemed the announcement – in a media release via Twitter – befitting of a rookie’s delisting, not someone of Harvey’s standing.
Harvey, however, did his best to diffuse tensions.
He admits he would have broken down had he fronted the media to speak about the end of his career with the Kangaroos and added his demand to know his fate had played a part in the timing.
“Right now, I feel a bit flat and sad because I won’t be playing at North Melbourne next year,” Harvey wrote.
“But that was always going to be the case no matter when my career at Arden Street ended.
“I know there are a lot of angry and disappointed fans out there and I love you all for your passion and care for me in this situation.
“But I need you all to know that I’m ok with what’s happened.
“It’s okay to feel upset, Brad and those in charge had a tough decision to make. I’m not angry at them about it at all, and have been in footy long enough to understand how it all works and that no individual is ever, bigger than the club.
“More than anything, I appreciate Brad’s honesty because I put him in a difficult situation when I asked to know where I stood. He did the right thing and told us all the truth.”
All four players were offered the opportunity to address the media on Wednesday but declined. Harvey said this wasn’t because he was too angry and that he would speak publicly when the time was right.
It is considered unlikely Harvey will seek to play on at another club, but he has said he will contemplate his future after the Roos’ season is over.
Firrito also took to social media to thank the club for its support over the course of his career.