North hope to regain Petrie - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

North hope to regain Petrie

By Roger Vaughan 06/07/2010 07:55:07 PM Comments (0)

North Melbourne hope vice-captain Drew Petrie can return for Sunday's big AFL clash against Sydney at the SCG.

Petrie has only played one match this season because of two bone fractures in his feet.

"Once he's available to join full training and he trains well, we'll make a call on when he plays," coach Brad Scott said in a club statement on Tuesday.

"His return is imminent."

Petrie, 27, returned in round 10 from the first injury, but broke a bone in the other foot during the match.

His inclusion would be an important boost for the Kangaroos, who will go into the top eight if they beat the Swans.

Sydney are eighth and North are ninth, with only percentage separating the two teams.

North put themselves in finals contention by winning three-straight games, before last Sunday's loss to top side Geelong.

"Hopefully we can start bridging that gap to the top-four sides, because we know we still have a fair way to go," midfielder Andrew Swallow said.

"The previous three weeks, we'd been travelling pretty well, we'd had some pretty good wins and probably started to play the best football we had all year.

"We went away from that a bit on the weekend (against Geelong) and a couple of little things broke down. We have a lot of improvement left in our group.

"It's going to be a big test this week going up to Sydney, they've beaten us (twice) this year."

A key factor for North will be whether their younger players can maintain their form over the next eight rounds.

North are a young side and the bash and crash of the AFL can start significantly affecting less-experienced players around this stage of the season.

"We've been pretty good, the program we've had in place this year ... the guys seems to be really coping with it," Swallow said.

"You look at Ryan Bastinac and Ben Cunnington in their first years, those guys haven't had a break yet and they seem to be playing great footy - both of them were terrific against an experienced Cats lineup.

"I don't think it's going to impact on us."

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