Try telling recalled pair Lachie Hansen and Jamie Macmillan that North Melbourne’s AFL clash with Melbourne is meaningless.
Regardless of what happens at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night, the Kangaroos are guaranteed to finish sixth and host an elimination final the following weekend.
But the question of which 22 players take the field for the club’s first home final since 2007 is very much up in the air.
Defenders Macmillan and Hansen were among five inclusions for the game against the 17th-placed Demons, with Michael Firrito, Lindsay Thomas, Levi Greenwood, Todd Goldstein and Luke McDonald out.
“I’m not stupid,” Macmillan said, agreeing the weekend was his audition for finals.
“Both Lachie and I know we’ve got this one chance to put our name up … and hopefully come match committee next week they’ll have to think a little harder.
“This week we have got some guys that have been managed, they’ll be coming back in.
“So we’re going to fight for our lives this weekend.”
Macmillan has not played since round three, when the 22-year-old suffered a serious leg injury and is desperate to find form and match fitness.
Hansen has missed North’s past three matches due to a hip injury, but played 17 games this season.
But the No.3 pick from the 2006 draft felt just as unsure about his place in the side as Macmillan.
“I know if I don’t perform against Melbourne, I might lose my spot straight away,” Hansen said.
Hansen suggested aside from creating more pressure for spots, the Kangaroos had a lot to gain from Saturday night.
“We want to have a win, of course. We want to take good form into the finals,” he said.
“Structurally get everything right and sound. Crash in and take the momentum into next week.”
North are likely to face Essendon in week one of the finals.