North Melbourne are courting controversy by considering resting up to 10 players from Friday’s AFL final-round clash with Richmond.
The Kangaroos said on Thursday they had AFL approval for the move, with chief executive Carl Dilena saying the club deserved the chance to prepare well for finals.
“The fatigue and injury status of our players will be the main consideration for team selection this week,” Dilena said.
The last-round rest has been a tactic utilised previously by Fremantle coach Ross Lyon, who has been upfront about his plans to do so again this week against Port Adelaide.
But unlike minor premiers Fremantle, eighth-placed North’s decision to rest players could have ramifications on the top eight.
Should the Kangaroos lose on Friday night, they are almost certain to play the Tigers again in an elimination final – but with their full suite of players.
The North Melbourne move would rile Adelaide Crows fans.
A Richmond win would mean the Crows need to beat Geelong on Saturday and rely on cellar-dweller Brisbane upsetting the Western Bulldogs to host a final at Adelaide Oval.
It could also affect the top four.
Should lowly Gold Coast pull off a massive upset win over fourth-placed Sydney, Richmond could displace the Swans in the four with a six-goal win over a greatly-weakened Kangaroos team.