BRAD Scott won't do this. His stubbornness won’t allow it.
But he should at some stage of Thursday morning reach for his phone and call Brent Harvey.
And this is how it should go: "Boom, not entirely sure what happened this week, but we stuffed this right up. We’re really sorry. You deserved to be treated differently."
Wednesday, August 24, 2016 was a terrible day for Scott and for North Melbourne Football Club. The day Scott totally botched the exit of the club’s still very much in-form VFL/AFL games record holder.
It hasn’t been a good year for Scott. His team has slipped from unbeaten after nine rounds to hanging onto a place in the eight. He embarrassingly and falsely accused umpires of making pre-ordained decisions against one of his players.
And now, a year after drafting Farren Ray to the club, he is forcing the exit of the VFL/AFL’s games record holder for no reason other than the numbers on his birth certificate.
When it comes to Harvey and his place not only at North Melbourne but in the AFL itself, it is a cop-out to say that his career needed to end in order for the Roos to go forward next year on the back of youth.
The youth pursuit is strategy on the run anyway, as team selection in recent years as well as off-season recruiting have been heavily weighted against young players.
Harvey deserved to be elevated above the criteria applied to all others on the North list, and his form in 2016 has been more than sound. He was actually discussed by All Australian selectors at an official meeting the day before the Roos decided to announce the end of his career.
If he wanted to take his career into a 22nd season, and he most certainly did, then he deserved that opportunity. That is not to say that Scott had to guarantee him a senior game in 2017, only to say that Harvey should have been given a place on the list.
Scott had known this Harvey moment was coming for probably five years, which meant he needed a far better strategy around it than the amateurish nature of what he allowed to occur yesterday when Harvey refused to sit alongside him at a press conference.
At the very least, Harvey needed to be separated from the announcements around the other three players forced to leave in Drew Petrie, Nick Dal Santo and Michael Firrito.
As grand as those players have been, Harvey is at the very pointy end of those who have most shaped the North Melbourne Football Club in its 91-year VFL/AFL history.
In March 2002, North Melbourne had no choice but to part with its greatest ever player, Wayne Carey.
In August 2016, it had a choice to make on arguably its second-greatest player.
It chose to treat him as a mere number, not as the very, very special case he is.
Boomer's numbers in comparison to his teammates in 2016
- Running bounces: 1.9 per game (1st at North Melbourne)
- Goals: 34 (=2nd)
- Kicks: 12.3 per game (3rd)
- Uncontested disposals: 15.3 per game (3rd)
- Inside 50s: 3.7 per game (4th)
- Disposals: 21.2 per game (6th)
- Goal assists: 0.6 per game (=7th)
- Marks: 4.1 per game (9th)
- AFL Player Ratings: 25th in the League, 2nd at North