It wasn’t meant to end like this.
Just a month ago, North Melbourne veteran Brent Harvey was being lauded as he broke Michael Tuck’s 426 game record. Even at 38, Harvey showed his was still one of the best in the Kangaroos, and equally incredible, he’d spent all 21 seasons at the one club.
But there won’t be a final, 22nd season for the 430 game club legend, with North Melbourne coach Brad Scott announcing four club veterans – midfielder Nick Dal Santo, defender Michael Firrito and forward Drew Petrie, alongside the number 29, won’t be offered contracts next year.
The decision comes despite Harvey being the leading player for the Roos in several rounds this year.
“If 2017 was going to be the last year on earth we know those four boys would make a contribution to us next year but the future is longer than that and we needed to make this decision in the best interests of North Melbourne’s future,” Scott said.
That means Kangaroos fans get a chance to say goodbye to the quartet this weekend when they take on GWS at home in the final game of the regular season.
North Melbourne are currently 8th on the ladder after losing their last three games and are likely to exit when they’re expected face the Giants again in Sydney the following week in an elimination final.
Kangaroos fans are angry and upset over the club’s decision to treat its greatest son like this, but “Boomer”, as Harvey is known, took to Facebook to tell them “I’m ok with what’s happened”.
Here’s what Harvey said:
Right now, I feel a bit flat and sad because I won’t be playing at North Melbourne next year. But that was always going to be the case no matter when my career at Arden Street ended.
I know there are a lot of angry and disappointed fans out there and I love you all for your passion and care for me in this situation.
But I need you all to know that I’m ok with what’s happened.
It’s okay to feel upset, Brad and those in charge had a tough decision to make. I’m not angry at them about it at all, and have been in footy long enough to understand how it all works and that no individual is ever, bigger than the club.
More than anything, I appreciate Brad’s honesty because I put him in a difficult situation when I asked to know where I stood. He did the right thing and told us all the truth.
I was given the opportunity, along with Drewy, Spud and Dal, to speak to the media yesterday but physically couldn’t. I would have broken down and didn’t want to do that. I want to be clear that is wasn’t because we were angry, like some people are suggesting.
When the time is right, I will speak but I’m not sure when that will be.
While this is hard for all of us, it’s important that we don’t lose sight of what’s in front of us. Finals are just around the corner and rest assured, we will do everything we can to win. We’d all like nothing more than to go out on a high.
As for my future, well this has all happened so fast and I haven’t had a chance to consider what’s next. After the season, I will weigh everything up with my family and manager.
Thanks for all your support in what’s been a tough few days. You’re the best supporters in the AFL and I urge you to stand by the club because the future will be exciting.
I’ll never forget what an absolute privilege its been to play for this amazing club for 21 years.
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