North Melbourne's Brent Harvey. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
NORTH Melbourne veteran Brent Harvey is set to bypass the club's altitude camp in Utah and use the time to train alone and freshen up for the season proper.
Harvey will miss the opening six rounds next season as a result of his suspension after the elimination final defeat to West Coast.
This delayed start has meant his pre-season program has been reshaped, with Harvey suggesting he may remain at home while his teammates and coach Brad Scott attended their now annual camp.
''I still haven't spoken to Brad officially about it but the word is no, I probably won't do Utah,'' Harvey said. ''It could give me a chance to get away and do my own training.''
The Kangaroos returned to training at Craigieburn yesterday, with Harvey a keen participant.
The former skipper could have stayed on holidays but joined in drills with the players who have had up to four years' experience.
Fairfax has rated the Kangaroos' 2013 fixture the second toughest, but Scott welcomed a campaign that begins with clashes against power clubs Collingwood, Geelong and Sydney. The Kangaroos must also face four of last year's finalists twice.
''There's no doubt it's a challenge but, to be the best, you've got to beat the best so we welcome the opportunity to play on the big stage against big opposition," Scott told the club's website. ''If we're good enough, we'll get to the pointy end of September.
''It's terrific we've got the premiers from the last three years, three weeks in a row.
''So it's going to be a real challenge but, again, we don't want an easy run to the finals, we want to prove that we're worthy contenders and to do that we've got to beat the really good teams and we get that chance very early on.''
Acting North chief executive Cameron Vale is expected to report to the AFL next week with an explanation for the club's actions during the Lachlan Hansen concussion inquiry. While the Kangaroos are set to be cleared of any wrongdoing in the round 20 clash against Essendon when Hansen returned to the field after a head knock, they face sanction for inconsistent evidence when an inquiry was opened.
The AFL gave North seven days to respond after meeting with the AFL's Adrian Anderson this week.