North Melbourne skipper Jack Ziebell believes the decision to axe Andrew Swallow and Lindsay Thomas has sent a powerful message to the winless AFL team.
Ziebell feels for the out-of-form veterans but agrees Kangaroos players have been put on notice ahead of Saturday’s clash against Gold Coast.
“I think it sends a message to everyone at our footy club that there’s no individual who is bigger than the club … if you’re not doing what’s required then we’ll bring someone in who can,” Ziebell said on Friday.
“I think for our young guys that’s a pretty powerful message.
“We’ve got a lot of guys doing really well in the reserves at the moment and opportunities aren’t far away.
“When you’re 0-5 change is inevitable.”
The Roos’ last-gasp loss to Fremantle last week was their third of the season by a margin of five points or less.
It continued a worrying trend of close losses under Brad Scott, but Ziebell said it was down to the players to take responsibility when a match is in the balance.
“When the game’s tight we need to make sure we stand up and get the job done,” he said.
“We’ve been in every game this year and been in control of some and should’ve capitalised but didn’t.
“But we understand why we haven’t and how we can change that.
“For our group that will give them a lot of confidence that next time we get in that position we can get it done.”
Important forward Shaun Higgins and former Hawk Jed Anderson were included to face the Suns, who sit 12th on the ladder with a 2-3 record.
Gold Coast rested David Swallow for the Etihad Stadium clash and recalled Jesse Lonergan.
Rodney Eade’s men are coming off a 67-point thumping by Adelaide, but return to the scene of their last win – against Carlton in round four – when co-captain Tom Lynch kicked seven goals.
“I think Tom is an absolute star of the competition … we’ll definitely be doing everything we can to halt his momentum,” Ziebell said.
“(Not only) down back but also with some pressure on the ball to try and hamper that delivery.
“(But) they’ve very talented across all lines and when they put it together they’re very hard to beat.”