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Scott shrugs off 'fair' speculation over future

Brad shrugs off speculation, Bryce's challenge, Hodge's legacy Mitch Cleary with all the latest footy news

NORTH MELBOURNE coach Brad Scott has brushed off talk about his future at the Kangaroos ahead of Saturday's clash with the Western Bulldogs.

Scott is in his 10th year in charge of North, and there has been plenty of speculation throughout his tenure about him potentially switching to another club, including before he re-signed in 2017.

That discussion has reached fever-pitch this season, mainly due to the fact the Roos sit second-from-bottom on the ladder with two wins from nine matches.

However, Scott told reporters on Friday it was not an appropriate time to engage in the topic.

My focus is on what's best for our club, and that hasn't changed - Brad Scott

"I can't shed any light on that. I think that speculation is fair, and media have got a job to do," Scott said.

"But the only thing I'll say about that is I've said for my entire tenure here at North Melbourne that my focus is on what's best for our club – and that hasn't changed.

"It's certainly at the forefront of my mind right at the moment that we need to do what's best for North Melbourne, and what's best for North right at the moment is the next 24 hours and the Bulldogs.

"The bigger picture is probably for another stage, rather than a day before a game."

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Emerging midfielder Luke Davies-Uniacke's return from his latest VFL stint means the Kangaroos will field five players aged 21 years or younger against the 12th-placed Bulldogs.

First-year wingman Bailey Scott is another in contention, but Scott said he was reluctant to bring the teenager in without playing a game since his "pretty significant" concussion almost three weeks ago.

"We're really looking to develop our young talent and give them opportunity," the coach said.

"But I think it's really important to stress that we're certainly not going to throw all our young players in at the same time – or that would be unlikely.

"It would only be circumstantial if we had to do that, but over a long period of time I've seen young players develop and I think I've got a pretty good feel for what works best.

"Jy Simpkin is a good example of someone going out of the side (to the VFL) and is now playing career-best footy."

 

Scott pointed to current stars Ben Cunnington and Jack Ziebell playing regular senior football in their early years, and said they had thrived in spite of that rather than because of it.

"Our average age is probably up there (25.81 this week), but the reason it's high is because we have a bit of a gap in our list in the mid-20s," he said.

"We've actually got a broad base of youth now that we want to bring through.

"I think it would be very difficult to make the case that we're playing an older player at the expense of a younger player. The mix is really important.

"We don't want to expose all our young players all at once, and the senior players have got a really key role to play in that."

Scott said he wanted to persevere with forward Mason Wood, who had only five disposals against Sydney last week, with the added bonus he could help stretch the Bulldogs' defence.

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