The longest-running selection drama of North Melbourne’s AFL season has at least another week to run with Daniel Wells again overlooked for senior football.
Wells has performed well in two VFL outings and looks to have overcome an Achilles injury that has sidelined him since round two.
His condition has improved to the stage where it’s a matter of `when’ not `if’ Wells will return and coach Brad Scott still believes it will come this season.
“It’s all about what we think the best 22 is for that week (and) it’s fair to say when Daniel Wells is playing his best he’s in our best side,” he said.
Wells’ season has almost mirrored his 2014 campaign, when a foot injury kept him out for 14 matches.
The 30-year-old midfielder didn’t play between round five and 21 but didn’t miss a beat in North Melbourne’s first two finals.
Scott said he had every confidence Wells could repeat his act in September this year whenever it was he proved his recovery.
“He’s actually done more work in terms of his physical load than this time last year and he played well in the finals last year,” he said.
“We won’t be rolling the dice.
“If he plays … it’s only because he’ll be ready to play.”
Against the Bulldogs, the Kangaroos AFL-best record of seven-straight wins comes up against the Dogs own streak of eight wins in a row at Etihad Stadium.
Both sides have made changes, with Scott recalling Jack Ziebell after suspension and Taylor Garner for Luke McDonald (soreness) and Lindsay Thomas (foot).
The Bulldogs have six changes, including the return of first-teamers Matt Boyd and Liam Picken and the inclusion of Zaine Cordy for his debut.
Out goes Michael Talia (ankle), Tom Campbell (thigh), with four others dropped.
Scott praised his opposite number Luke Beveridge for his effort in lifting the club from 14th last season into the top six.
And while Scott said the club was not getting ahead of themselves after their fine 11-point win over Fremantle, there was a hint of confidence when considering how they’ll tackle the league’s best improvers.
“You can’t help but be impressed with how the Bulldogs have gone about it this year,” he said.
“We’re going to have to work out the best style to play them … something we’ve been pleased with is our ability to be able to change based on who we play and the state of the game.