Brad Scott says North Melbourne is not topping up its list to try and win a premiership before star veterans Brent Harvey and Drew Petrie retire.  

And the North coach is confident the Roos' flag window won't close once Harvey, who turns 37 in May, and Petrie, 32, hang up their boots.

Scott told he could understand why some people thought North's aggressive approach to free agency over the past two years suggested the club believed its premiership time was now.

After almost exclusively rebuilding with youth via the draft from 2006-12, the Roos exploited free agency to snare Nick Santo (from St Kilda) at the end of 2013 and Jarrad Waite (Carlton) and Shaun Higgins (Western Bulldogs) last October.

They also made a play for battle-scarred Bulldog Adam Cooney in last year's trade period and, while unsuccessful, will still take the AFL’s second-oldest list into the 2015 season.

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But Scott stressed the Roos had not abandoned the patient list management strategy that began at the end of 2006, when they drafted Lachlan Hansen, Todd Goldstein, Lindsay Thomas and Leigh Adams.

And the coach said that no matter how vital Harvey and Petrie remained to the Roos' on-field fortunes, North could still contend for a flag after they retire.

"We think that the next era of success for North Melbourne will be heavily influenced by Brent Harvey and Drew Petrie, whether they play in that successful period or not," Scott said.

"We've never taken our eyes off the future. We've invested really heavily in the draft, but we're looking to improve our list each year.

"Like every club, we're looking at succession planning for our great players and we think we've got some really good quality players to come through underneath those guys, so we're not rushing.

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"We're planning with one eye on the now and certainly one eye on the future."

Scott led North to the second finals series of his five-year reign last year and, more significantly, to its first finals wins since 2007.

As impressive as those wins over Essendon and Geelong were, the Roos' campaign ended on a sour note when the Sydney Swans smashed them by 71 points in the first preliminary final.

North had beaten the Swans in their only encounter in last year's home and away season, and also defeated 2014's other two preliminary finalists, Hawthorn and Port Adelaide.

But Scott said the Roos, who finished the regular season two games outside the top four in sixth, still had considerable ground to make up on the Hawks, Swans and Power.

"The gap between the top three sides (and the rest) is significant," Scott said.

"It's there for everyone to see that Sydney gave us a real touch up in that preliminary final and then Hawthorn did a similar thing to them, so that suggests in itself that we've got a fair jump to make.

"The season itself was pleasing in that we kept improving. We never surrendered, we kept giving ourselves a chance to compete.

"Ultimately there's still a gap there and we've got to close it in 2015."