North Melbourne could begin the gradual transformation of one of its all-time greats into the game's premier ''super sub'' this year.
Brent Harvey says there could be times this season when he starts as the substitute in order to keep himself fresh throughout his 19th AFL season.
Harvey had an enforced six-week lay-off at the start of last season because of a suspension carried over from the previous year, and when he did return in round seven, the 35-year-old was lauded for his impact on games.
The late start and the fact Harvey only played 16 matches appeared to have a positive effect, prompting thoughts the Roos might choose to rest their key veteran at times this year, hoping for a similar outcome.
Harvey did not rule out the resting option altogether, but said a more likely scenario might be playing as a substitute more often.
''Whether that happens or not, I'm not too sure,'' Harvey said.
''If you ask me, I'm going to say I want to play every game, like I do every other year so there might be a bit of a battle going on there.
''But if [North coach] Brad [Scott] thinks it's going to help me with my football, and therefore help the team, I'm happy to do whatever he thinks.
''Although there is also the sub role as well, where you can come on for a quarter and half and still have an impact. So things like that, we will start looking at this year.''
Harvey has shown interest in using the ''super sub'' role as a way to prolong his career, a tactic the Western Bulldogs used to great effect last year, and will again this year, with their own veteran small forward, Daniel Giansiracusa.
Scott has also expressed excitement at the type of weapon Harvey could become for the Roos playing as the substitute.
''I can't think of a better impact player than 'Boomer' coming on late in games,'' the coach said in an interview in July last year.
''I think that is the type of player, a guy who can carry the ball, can go up into the midfield, but also come back and kick or set up goals.
''He's pretty difficult to play on anyway because of his explosiveness. So, if he's coming on late in games fresh and other opposition players are fatigued, then he's going to be very hard to stop.''
Harvey last year averaged his highest number of Champion Data ranking points since 2008 and was ranked No. 1 in that category for all mid-forward players in the competition.
Harvey, who has played 362 games, says he can't afford to entertain the likelihood of playing on in 2015 and giving himself the chance to become only the third player in league history to break the 400-game barrier.
The five-time best and fairest winner was spared the interstate trip to play in North's second NAB Challenge game in Tasmania against Hawthorn on Friday night, but had 19 disposals and two goals in the first game against Carlton.
''I can't look too far forward, unfortunately, at my age. You lose what you are about right now,'' he said. ''If I look forward to next year and I have a crap year, then I won't get to next year.''