Injured North Melbourne midfielder Daniel Wells isn’t expected to be back in the AFL for another fortnight but coach Brad Scott still expects him to have an impact when he finally returns.
Wells hasn’t played since round two, requiring surgery on his Achilles tendon.
Despite the long lay-off, Scott says Wells proved with his lengthy recovery from a serious foot injury last season that he didn’t need a lot of game time to play a starring role.
“We’ve got a pretty good template last year when he was coming back from that significant Lisfranc injury and he was our best player in the first half in the final if not for the whole game,” Scott said.
“We know what he’s capable of when he’s fully fit and he’s been able to do a fair chunk of work that we’d be happy enough with his conditioning.
“It’s just about how he can recover from the injury itself.”
The 30-year-old completed some running drills at training and looked comfortable but Scott said the two-time best and fairests winner wasn’t quite ready.
“He’s shown some really good glimpses at training; it’s just more about how he pulls up consistently and we need him pulling up pain-free for a few sessions in a row before we start thinking about playing him,” Scott said on Thursday.
Scott said Wells would play in the VFL before returning to the senior side.
Meanwhile key defender Lachlan Hansen has overcome hip soreness and is available to replace suspended defender Michael Firrito in their MCG clash with Melbourne on Sunday.
Hansen hasn’t played since North’s round 14 loss to Gold Coast but has impressed in two games in the VFL with Werribee.
“He’s played two back now, so he’s certainly available and that gives us a bit of flexibility with Firrito being suspended,” Scott said.
“He’ll be in the mix but along with about four other players: Brad McKenzie, Max Warren, Robin Nahas and Aaron Mullett.
“We’ve got some good options to replace ‘Spud’.”