HIGH-PRICED midfielder Jared Polec will remain in limbo for a third straight game, with North Melbourne coach Rhyce Shaw confirming he had missed selection again.
It means Polec's been overlooked for four of the Kangaroos' past six matches, in a major statement from Shaw and co. given they had only 28 fit players to choose from this week.
The 27-year-old is contracted at North Melbourne until the end of the 2023 season, but the situation is becoming increasingly complicated.
Polec originally lost his spot after failing to follow orders in playing a defensive role on Carlton superstar Patrick Cripps in round eight.
The former Lion and Power winger was unable to prove he had turned the corner in that regard after being recalled for rounds 10 and 11 – and hasn't made it back since.
Polec kicked three goals in a reserves scratch match on Friday, and Shaw said his fellow coaches' report from that game was positive on him and he would be "in the selection frame" next week.
"We've had our chats over the past few weeks and been in constant communication with him," Shaw said.
"He's obviously frustrated, but so am I, and so is the team and the club with the position we're in. We've made decisions along the way that we think are in the best interests of our footy team.
"Jared understands that and understands where I sit on that matter, and I was really pleased to get the report back yesterday from the coaches."
Shaw again refused to discuss Polec's future at the club, pointing out he still had three seasons to run on the contract he signed at the end of 2018.
Sunday's opponent, Gold Coast, has just one win and a draw from its past nine starts, but has been mostly more competitive than the Roos, who've lost 10 of their last 11 games.
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Shaw's been satisfied with his players' effort and intensity in their past two matches and he said they were still prioritising winning despite being out of finals contention.
"Nothing's really changed for me, to be honest. I just want to win. I know our boys want to win," he said.
"We've been forced to make changes, because of our horrific injury list. I don't think we've played the same side all year.
"That's a really difficult one for continuity and synergy … but we're looking to win every single game."
Captain Jack Ziebell (hamstring) trained strongly on Friday and could return next week, while Ben Brown (knee) took a positive step in his recovery with a running session on Saturday.