NORTH Melbourne has dropped star spearhead Ben Brown and high-priced midfielder Jared Polec ahead of Saturday's clash with winless Adelaide.
Brown is the sole player in the AFL to kick 60-plus goals in each of the past three seasons but is in a prolonged form slump that's seen him kick only eight majors in as many games in 2020.
He also revealed during the week that he and his wife, Hester, had heartbreakingly lost one of the twins she was due to give birth to in February next year.
Majak Daw will return for his first match since round 23, 2018 and could be Brown's direct replacement in attack, while recruit Aiden Bonar is also back after missing through soreness at the weekend.
ROUNDS 9-12 Check out the full fixture
Kangaroos coach Rhyce Shaw said after six straight losses that something had to give.
"It's obviously been a tough period for (Brown) off the field and we all feel for him in that scenario but it's also been pretty tough for him on the field," Shaw said.
"He's been working really hard, as I said to you guys last week, but he just hasn't been getting the results and we're in a position now where we have to get some results.
"We feel as though this is the right time for him to step out of the side and make way for Maj."
Shaw said Brown, who is out of contract at season's end and already the subject of trade speculation, was "exceptional" in receiving the news and hoped this would serve as a "circuit-breaker" to produce his best form.
However, the second-year coach declined to comment on the key forward's long-term future at the club.
"I don't have time to worry about that stuff. I'm trying to get the best out of Ben, do the best thing for him and get him going right now," Shaw said.
"We're in a situation at the moment, as I said before, we've lost six in a row, so we just want our players playing at their best and I think this is the best way to get Ben doing that."
Polec won a game-high 25 disposals (16 contested) last week and received four AFL Coaches' Association votes, seemingly all from Carlton coach David Teague.
Shaw said Polec's body of work in the past month hadn't "been up to the standard that we expect".
"He knows exactly where I stand on that with him, and he trained today actually and trained pretty well, so we're looking just for a form reversal from him and (to) get him going, so we can get the best out of Jared going forward," Shaw said.
North Melbourne won't play any scratch matches in the immediate weeks, given it will effectively play three matches in nine days, including off back-to-back four-day breaks.
On Brown specifically, Shaw said the condensed fixture meant he would "play a part in one of those games coming up".