North Melbourne is closely monitoring brilliant midfielder Daniel Wells today as it tosses up whether to pick him for the blockbuster game against Fremantle at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
Wells, who missed last week because of a calf muscle strain, is close to resuming but coach Brad Scott said today's main session would tell a story.
"Everyone knows we're a better side with Daniel Wells in it, and we're really keen for him to come back in," Scott said today. "We're certainly not treating this game as one we'll rest him. If he's right to play, we'll play him. We'll give him as long as he possibly can.
"The scans came back that there was a bit of damage there, but we didn't think it was significant. There's always the risk that it could become more significant, so we certainly won't take any risks with him. He's a really explosive player. His strengths are that he's got pace and he's got agility. He's got to be able to function at his optimum otherwise there's no point playing him anyway."
It remains more likely the Roos, who are safely ensconced in the finals with 13 wins and a healthy percentage, will give Wells another week to recover. But their coach is not even allowing his players to accept that they are guaranteed of September action. Mathematically if North lost to Fremantle and Greater Western Sydney in the final round they could drop out of the top eight, and as slim a possibility as that might be, Scott is reminding his players to keep pushing.
"While everyone says we're going to play finals, that's not assured either. We've got to make sure we put in a good performance this week and keep playing the style of footy we've been playing, and make sure we can overcome a terrific defensive side in Freo."