Resting Roos not an issue with AFL
In a move that has angered fans, commentators and rival club Adelaide, North made a swathe of changes to their line-up for the last-round fixture against the Tigers, with stars Todd Goldstein, Andrew Swallow, Nick Dal Santo and Shaun Higgins among those omitted.
The move could have ramifications on the first weekend of the finals campaign, and prompted the Crows to seek clarity from the AFL on clubs’ obligations.
AFL football operations manager Mark Evans says while the decision certainly doesn’t sit well with some, he says the Kangaroos are entitled to make the call.
“We understand the situation they’re in of two six-day breaks and the need to make sure they’re right for their finals match,” Evans said.
“While we understand some people don’t like the look of it, it has cleared our integrity rules.
“If you look at sides at this time of the year, some of them are in development mode; some have already put games into young players; some players have been rested to this point in time.
“While we understand that people don’t like the look of it, we certainly understand that North Melbourne, Fremantle and others are preparing for the best possible finals series.
“It won’t impact their ladder position and we’re confident that it’s not a matter for the integrity department.”
Adelaide, whose chances of hosting a home final were greatly diminished by North’s actions, weren’t so sure that the move was in the best interests of the integrity of the game.
“Many disagree as we have seen from media commentary, as well as the vast number of Crows members and supporters who have contacted the club, expressing their disappointment and concern,” a club statement read.
“We acknowledge that all clubs are well within their rights to take advantage of the current rules, however, the question is should the rules be changed?” Evans said clubs had at least been honest with their intentions, and that might help fans understand – if not accept – the decision.
He also dismissed the suggestion a week’s break between the completion of the regular season and the start of the finals series would make the problem disappear.
“That creates other issues around momentum and you still get the possibility that you get to the final round and some teams will not be able to change position so I think we’ll still have the same problem,” he said.