North Melbourne won’t be going out of their way to try and exploit Hawthorn’s lack of height in defence when the sides square off at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.
Brian Lake joined James Frawley (pectoral) and Matt Spangher (hamstring) on the sidelines after he suffered a knee injury in last week’s loss to Port Adelaide, leaving the Hawks short-handed in the key defensive posts.
But coach Brad Scott said altering the Kangaroos’ style in an attempt to take advantage of the opposition’s injury woes was fraught with danger.
“I think if we go in with a game plan of just trying to exploit their tall backs that will backfire on us,” Scott said on Thursday.
“The challenge will be containing their good players around the midfield more than exploiting their key backs.”
Daniel Wells will be missing from that midfield once again as he continues to struggle with an Achilles tendon issue that has kept him out since round two.
“How long is a piece of string?” Scott replied when asked when the onballer would return.
“Some players play a style of footy that enables them to play with some injuries that perhaps they could get through a game with but still perform somewhere around their normal role.
“Those players are like tractors – they just get out there and get the job done – but Daniel Wells isn’t a tractor, he’s a Rolls Royce.
“I refuse to send Wellsy, who is a really important part of our team, out when he’s below his best. We all expect his best and if he can’t produce it it’s unfair on him and it doesn’t help the team.”
Hawthorn were brushed aside by the rampaging Power in a blistering first quarter last week, but Scott said that his planning had focused on preparing his team to combat the Hawks at their best.
“They’re going to be smarting a little bit from that (loss),” he said.
“But I think Port’s assault early in the game probably clouded the rest of the game a bit. I thought Hawthorn were really good for most of the game, so our full expectation is that they bring that for four quarters.”