Star North Melbourne utility Shaun Higgins will sit out Saturday’s last AFL pre-season game as he recovers well from knee surgery.
Higgins ran by himself at Wednesday training, with a bandage on his left knee.
He needed a cleanout after being among North’s best last month in their opening NAB Challenge match against St Kilda.
The Kangaroos will wrap up their pre-season schedule on Saturday night against reigning premiers Hawthorn at Etihad Stadium.
While Higgins moved well in his running drills, he did not train with the main group and the ‘Roos have nothing to gain by bringing him back quickly.
His more likely return will be the round-one match against Adelaide on Easter Saturday night against Adelaide.
North also have a healthy list ahead of Saturday night’s match.
“It’s a full dress rehearsal and we’ll have our full side out on the park, or pretty much close to it,” Michael Firrito said.
Firrito will go into this season full of confidence after one of the veteran defender’s most consistent years.
Expectations are also high for North after making the past two preliminary finals.
Firrito, 32, has played 253 senior games and has impressed after speculation about his future over the past few years.
“The last few have been my last season, who knows what will lie ahead,” he said.
“Maybe it’s helped me a little bit, just appreciating every moment.
“I’m really fortunate to be in the position I am.
“I’m playing almost like every game is my last game.”
Knowing his career cannot last forever, Firrito is determined for the Kangaroos to take the next step and win a flag.
“It’s not going to roll around forever,” he said.
“It’s definitely not now or never for the list, but for myself, it almost is.
“I need the boys to be at their best and I need myself to be at my best.
“To achieve the ultimate would be a dream come true.”