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"We know how good he is"

Nick Bowen -  August 4, 2017 1:12 PM

North Melbourne is "nowhere near" making a call on whether Jarrad Waite is offered a contract for 2018, but the final four rounds won't have any bearing on its decision, coach Brad Scott says.

Injury and a one-match suspension have restricted Waite to just 10 games this season and he will miss at least the next two rounds with his second calf injury of the year.

But, when fit, the 34-year-old remains an extremely valuable player. He was best on ground in North's round seven win over Adelaide with 6.2, and has shown his versatility in recent weeks in a new role on the wing.

Scott told reporters on Friday North intended to get Waite fit to play again this season, saying his latest injury would sideline him for three weeks at most.

Asked whether Waite would be playing for a 2018 contract when he returned, Scott said the former Blue did not have to prove anything to anyone at North.

"We know how good he is, we know all the great things he's brought to our club. All of our free agents, (Nick) Dal Santo, (Shaun) Higgins and Waitey, have just brought an enormous amount to us on the field but an enormous amount off the field too," Scott said.

"There's no audition in the last few weeks of the year. We know how good he is. We've just got to look at our entire list management profile and how we go about that and that will determine what happens.

"But we're nowhere near making a decision on any of those things yet."

Scott said Waite had been "terrific" since moving on to the wing in round 14 against the Western Bulldogs, a move made largely to create room for Majak Daw on North's forward line.

Since Waite has moved up the ground, North has also blooded first-year key forward Nick Larkey, while it will also be keen to introduce its first pick from the 2015 NAB AFL Draft, Ben McKay, if not this season, then next.

Scott said the fact Waite had shown he could play outside attack – and would not stymie the development of a young forward such as Larkey or McKay – would be a factor when North's list management team considered his future.

"(Playing Waite on the wing) was part of the intention to add some flexibility to our forward structure so that we could bring some of our talented talls into the side, whether that be up forward or in the ruck," Scott said.

"So that gave us some added flexibility to be able to do some different things. He's a very complete player so that certainly comes into calculations."

Like Waite, Daw has been ruled out Saturday night's clash against Collingwood, with a foot injury.

Scott was hopeful Daw would miss only one match but could not rule out a longer absence.

The Roos coach was also hopeful forward Mason Wood would return before the end of the season.

Wood has been sidelined since round 15 with a calf injury that was originally expected to sideline him for one or two weeks, but Scott said recent tests suggested the forward had "turned the corner".