FORMER North Melbourne star Nick Dal Santo believes the omissions of veterans Andrew Swallow and Lindsay Thomas for this week's clash with Gold Coast could be the start of a "second wave" of high-profile axings at the club.
The veteran pair was dropped ahead of Saturday night's clash at Etihad Stadium due to poor form, with Swallow averaging only 16.2 disposals per game this season and Thomas kicking just two goals throughout the first five weeks.
With Swallow set to turn 30 later this year and Thomas just a year younger, both are among the most senior players at North Melbourne and are contracted through to the end of 2018.
However, with the club going through a list rebuild after three straight finals appearances, it's beginning to look likely they will shed more experience at the end of this year.
The Kangaroos lost almost 2000 games of that experience last year when it delisted Dal Santo, along with fellow club greats Brent Harvey, Drew Petrie and Michael Firrito.
And Dal Santo believes Brad Scott's latest decision could kickstart the next series of strategic choices that will undoubtedly impact the club's more senior pros.
"This might be the second wave of that coming through," Dal Santo told Fox Footy's AFL 360.
"I was part of the decisions last year and I actually agreed with it.
"Yes, I feel like I could've helped going forward. But I actually understood the direction the whole club needed to go, in regards to young kids needing to play games.
"Unfortunately there were a few casualties and I was part of it, but this might be the second wave and I think if Andrew and a few of the other players are realistic, you can see it coming."
Dal Santo believes the experienced group of North Melbourne players that was culled last season could have made an impact during the club's winless start to the season, but said that in the long run it wasn't "right for us to be there".
He also revealed his belief that, on merit, Swallow and Thomas perhaps don't deserve to be in North Melbourne's best 22 following their disappointing start to the year.
"In some ways it's not a surprise," Dal Santo said.
"Sometimes in football you have to deal with facts and the facts are neither of those two boys have been playing good enough football to represent the club."
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