Boomer times not about to end any time soon at North
HE'S been a North Melbourne player for 20 seasons, and his skipper Andrew Swallow reckons Brent 'Boomer' Harvey should make it 21.
The lead-up to Harvey becoming just the fourth player to reach 400 VFL/AFL games - a milestone he will achieve at the Gabba tonight - has been overshadowed by speculation he could either be made to retire at season's end, or even play for a rival club in 2016.
But his successor as Kangaroos captain said he hoped the 37-year-old Harvey would indeed play on ... as a teammate.
"You just never know at his age - the body can sometimes decline pretty quickly. But all the signs are that he will play on," Swallow told APN. "He's playing as well as he ever has. He just runs all day.
"I hope he does and I hope in the next year or two we can win a flag for him because he deserves another one."
Drafted in 1995, Harvey went on to play in North's 1999 premiership alongside greats such as Wayne Carey and Glenn Archer, and win five club best-and-fairest awards.
Even as he is about match the incredible marks of longevity by Kevin Bartlett (403), Michael Tuck (426) and Dustin Fletcher (400), he is the club's leading possession-winner this season.
After being made the starting sub two weeks ago by coach Brad Scott, he collected a game-high 34 disposals in the Kangaroos' win over Essendon last week.
A pocket dynamo at 172cm, Harvey is as much renowned for his work ethic as he has been for his lack of height over the years.
"You don't realise for a bloke of his stature how well he does," Swallow said with a chuckle.
"He's the strongest bloke, pound for pound, at the club. He's just an outstanding preparer and trainer. I don't think there's anyone on the list as diligent in getting their body right, and doing what needs to be done to get up and play."
Though North has been able to provide Harvey with a win in all of his milestone games, starting with No.50 in 1999, it has not beaten Brisbane at the Gabba for 10 years, losing its past six there.
"I just think the Lions play really well at the Gabba. I think they know the ground so well," Swallow explained.
With their inconsistency causing the once highly-fancied Kangaroos to be back in 10th on the ladder, Swallow said his players needed to make sure "we're on" against the hosts, who sit last but are playing their own milestone game - former skipper Jed Adcock's 200th.
"We went up to the Gold Coast (in round 14) and they were sitting bottom and they rolled us," he said. "We are all too aware that if we don't pull our fingers out, we can get shown up pretty quickly."
The visitors will regain spearhead Drew Petrie, who has played in 260 games with Harvey - the most of any current teammates.
"It's great to have him back," Swallow said of Petrie, whose match-up with Daniel Merrett will be pivotal to the result. "He just shores up our attack."
With games against lowly Carlton, St Kilda and Melbourne to follow, Swallow said the Roos were "still confident of having a massive say in how this year pans out".