North Melbourne coach Brad Scott pulled rank on his club’s medical staff at Patersons Stadium on Sunday night and as a result he expects small forward Lindsay Thomas to be available for next weekend’s clash against Richmond.
Thomas appeared to be struggling with a hamstring injury throughout the third term of the Roos 38-point win over West Coast.
He left the field a couple of times for treatment, but returned to the field after medical staff decided that he only had cramp – a result of a blow he had received to his back.
But at three-quarter time, with the Roos leading by 39 points and the game being played in wet and slippery conditions, Scott decided it wasn’t worth risking the side’s leading goal scorer for this season.
So Thomas was handed the red vest at the last break, replaced by Liam Anthony.
“We have got, we think, the best medical, physio team in the country, but when they put him back on, I was a bit disappointed because he's an important player to us, we didn't want to risk him,” Scott said.
“But they're so confident in their ability that they thought he was fine. I never overrule a medical decision if it's to say he can't come back on, but I can overrule to put him back on, so I did. But we think he will be all right next week.”
Scott said he was confident that Thomas had not suffered any muscular damage to his hamstring and that he would be fine to tackle the Tigers.
He has kicked 20.9 this season, including four goals in round one against Essendon and in round nine against Brisbane. He has booted three in two games and has been kept goalless only once – by the Western Bulldogs' Liam Picken in round two.
Aaron Black is the second most productive North forward this season with 14 goals, with Drew Petrie and Brent Harvey each with 12.
Meanwhile, North skipper Andrew Swallow is quickly finding his feet back at the elite level.
Swallow played 76 per cent of the game against West Coast on Sunday night, collecting 21 touches and kicking a goal.
It was his third game back in the seniors since injuring his Achilles in round 18 last year against Melbourne. He had nine contested possessions against the Eagles and laid nine tackles.
Scott said he thought Swallow’s game against West Coast was by far the best of his three games since his return.
“He started to do some things that were the Andrew Swallow of previous years,” Scott said. “Really dynamic around the stoppages, really good inside.
“He’s always been a great tackler. But I saw some things from him tonight that were just, I thought he’s starting to come back to the Andrew Swallow we know. He led by example tonight.”