For 22 weeks, Daniel Wells’ chances of playing AFL football have been cruelled by injury.
But now, North Melbourne coach Brad Scott says he faces a different battle to be selected; surpassing his in-form team mates.
An achilles complaint paused Wells’ 2015 season after just two rounds and he hasn’t been seen in Kangaroo colours since.
The availability of the much-respected 30-year-old has been a constant talking point throughout the season, but could reach a climax or conclusion this week in the run-up to North Melbourne’s preliminary final with West Coast.
The suggestion from Scott in the aftermath of their 26-point semi-final win over Sydney is that Wells no longer has injury preventing his selection; he’s just at the back of a queue.
“He’s a chance,” Scott said of Wells’ prospects to face the Eagles.
“But to be honest, three years ago he would have been more of a chance.
“The toughest thing for Wellsy at the moment is he’s got 25, 26 guys (in front of him) who are playing really well.”
Wells, 30, endured similar difficulties last season when he was absent from round five to round 21.
The Western Australian suffered a foot injury in a training mishap with Drew Petrie but recovered to feature in the club’s finals campaign.
This time around, Scott used the example of Robin Nahas, who was dropped after playing a handy bit-part in the Kangaroos’ elimination of Richmond, to show how difficult it is to get a guernsey.
“Wellsy at his best would play in our best side and we’ve got to work out how close he is to his best before we make the call,” he said.