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Flag 'wouldn't be stealing'

Nick Dal Santo has rejected the claim North Melbourne would be "stealing" a flag if it won this year's Grand Final after finishing eighth on the ladder.

The Roos head into Saturday's preliminary final against West Coast in Perth as clear outsiders, but Dal Santo – who is set to play his 300th game on Saturday – is adamant his side isn't just making up the numbers.

"We've worked really hard for two years, in the time I've been at the club, to put ourselves in this position," Dal Santo said.

"I don't think it would be stealing. If we do win it, I think we would have earned it, that's for sure."

The clash against the Eagles will be Dal Santo's seventh preliminary final, having played in five during his time at St Kilda, and also in North's loss to the Swans last year.

With three unsuccessful Grand Final appearances with St Kilda (2009, 2010 draw and replay) also under his belt, he said he was as hungry as ever to win his first premiership.

Dal Santo has only played 14 games this season, the first time he has played fewer than 20 games since 2003 – his second season of senior footy.

The 31-year-old has been amazingly durable during his 14-year career but a serious hamstring injury earlier this season affected his continuity.

However the 10-game lay-off and the club's decision to rest key players in round 23 has Dal Santo feeling energised.

"My body is feeling really good," Dal Santo said.

"The way I felt at the weekend, comparing it to this time last year – I know I was exhausted after that prelim (against the Sydney Swans) last year."

Dal Santo said the move from the Saints to North Melbourne at the end of 2013 had panned out the way he had wanted it to, although he admitted it was hard to leave the club that drafted him with pick No.13 in the 2001 draft.

"There were multiple reasons as to why I left the Saints and it was a tough decision looking back on it," he said.

"But one thing I did want to do, if I left the Saints, was to be in a competitive team and play finals and I am loving being part of September again."

Defender Robbie Tarrant, who was a late withdrawal from the 26-point semi-final win against the Swans on Saturday night with a groin strain, was on light duties at Arden Street on Monday.

Veteran forward Drew Petrie was not spotted out on the track, although the club said he was completing his training indoors.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs