North Melbourne defender Scott Thompson is confident team chemistry won’t suffer as a result of Brad Scott’s controversial decision to rest nearly half his AFL team last week.
Thompson was one of nine players rested for the round 23 clash against Richmond, with that contingent set to return to the line-up for Sunday’s elimination final against the Tigers.
This week’s Kangaroos side will be almost unrecognisable to the one that battled bravely before going down to Richmond but Thompson says the huge player turnover won’t be an issue.
“We’ve had a pretty steady team all year and we’ve been gelling well together so I don’t think it should have too much of an impact,” Thompson said.
“I hate missing games (but) I do what’s best for the club and that’s winning finals and winning a premiership.
“I think that (resting) gives us the best chance to win this game.”
North went through their main training session on Thursday with Lindsay Thomas and Daniel Wells also hopeful of forcing their way into the AFL elimination final side after recovering from injury.
Thompson admitted Tigers key forwards Jack Riewoldt and Ty Vickery were in imposing form and while he wouldn’t divulge which match-up he’ll get, he said he was feeling refreshed after the break.
Teammate Drew Petrie courted controversy this week when he highlighted ‘tunnelling’ tactics used by Richmond defenders that he felt unfairly unbalanced North’s forwards in marking contests.
Thompson, a dogged back man renowned for using every trick in the defender’s book, understandably had a different perspective.
“As a defender I can’t really say anything because I probably do it myself,” he said.
“Our forwards would have seen it and they’ll work through it. If it happens again I’m sure Drew Petrie and Ben Brown will have something to combat it.
“(But) I don’t think it’s tunnelling if you get hands on the ball – it’s just body work.
“It’s the AFL so you want a physical contest – if they’re still going for the ball I don’t see anything wrong with it.”