North Melbourne skipper Andrew Swallow has dismissed calls for Drew Petrie to be dropped in week one of the AFL finals.
Petrie is one of the four much-loved veterans at the club told last week this season will be their last at Arden St.
The key forward had just three kicks in the final round of the season, indicating the decision impacted his form.
Jarrad Waite is set to return from hip surgery in next Saturday’s elimination final against Adelaide, with many pundits suggesting it should be at the expense of Petrie.
“It’d be hard to go into a game without him,” Swallow said on Thursday.
“When he’s not marking the footy at least he’s tackling and chasing.
“Last week he probably wasn’t at his best but I’m really confident (he will play) – he’s a competitive bloke.
“We’re confident he’ll be there and he will give us a really strong target.
“There will be some tough (selection) decisions.”
The Adelaide Oval clash could be the final game in the careers of Petrie, Brent Harvey, Nick Dal Santo and Michael Firrito.
Swallow admitted the timing of last week’s announcement was a “real shock”.
“I can understand now why it was done,” the midfielder said.
“Obviously the boys wanted to know and credit to the club … it was probably hard to hear but they told them the truth.
“It’s been dealt with.”
Swallow added it took a “little bit of time” for players to process the news.
“It was very different feeling going into the game (against Greater Western Sydney last week),” he said.