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Roos need Petrie in AFL finals: skipper

AAP logoAAP 1/09/2016 By Rob Forsaith

Drew Petrie looks set to avoid the axe in week one of the AFL finals, with North Melbourne skipper Andrew Swallow throwing his support behind the outgoing forward.

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 expected 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 instead of Majak Daw.

Swallow acknowledged September isn't the time for sentimental selections but made it clear he believed Petrie was entrenched in North's best 22.

"It'd be hard to go into a game without him," Swallow said on Thursday.

"I've got no idea what the match committee are thinking but I'd be pretty confident we'll see him there.

"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."

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" and it took players some time to digest the news.

"I can understand now why it was done," he added.

"Obviously the boys wanted to know and credit to the club for being honest with them.

"It was probably hard to hear but they told them the truth.

"It's been dealt with.

"Now we just want to go out there and put some good performances on for the guys because they have been legends of our club and we want to do the right thing for them."

Swallow, who is 29, rejected the idea his side couldn't be competitive in 2017.

"We are having a bit of a reset, we are not rebuilding. We are not going to go down the bottom," the midfielder said.

"The core of our team is still pretty young.

"I don't think it is a complete rebuild, we just had to make some tough decisions on some guys because we had a large group of guys over 30."

Swallow was also adamant North could do some damage in finals despite finishing eighth on the ladder and winning just three of their past 13 games.

"We really challenged Sydney (in round 22) and could have quite easily won that game," he said.

"We've been able to identify some things that have been really holding us back. Hopefully we can continue to build and it all clicks."

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