North Melbourne coach Brad Scott was at pains to point out that he's not complaining about being spared a Steve Johnson headache, but he hopes the Geelong star's one-match suspension will be a catalyst for changing a system where carryover points rule players out for incidents that, in isolation, are not worthy of a ban.
Scott on Wednesday rated Johnson in the top 10 players in the competition on 2014 form, and while conceding that the carryover points system that cost him a game for headbutting Ryan Crowley was there to punish repeat offenders, he favours leniency when incidents warrant no more than a warning.
"We're certainly not complaining about it ... but from a supporter, footy fan's perspective, I don't like to see the best players rubbed out of the game for innocuous incidents,'' he said.
"I'm sure [Geelong coach and twin brother] Chris would say he didn't need to do it, but the issue of carryover points I think will come up at some stage at the end of the year when we review the tribunal, because I don't think anybody wants to see the best players in the game sitting out for incidents that they probably shouldn't be rubbed out for.
"You look at the incident in isolation and think, well he shouldn't get a week for that in my view. But that's only my view.
"It's a hard job. But I just think we do play a pretty aggressive contact sport and I'd prefer to see the things that could go either way go the way of, 'Let's get the good players out there playing'."
With Johnson missing Friday night's big game at Simonds Stadium, the Kangaroos' coaching staff can zero in on Joel Selwood, with Scott saying they are as yet unsure how to approach the Cats captain but would need to think more broadly than simply employing a hard tag.
"You need to get someone on him who can compete with him for the footy," Scott said. "Just trying to stop him is not good enough because you just end up following him around all day.
"He's certainly in the top few midfielders in the comp. Some of our guys aspire to be there and they're not there yet, so it's a great challenge for them."
North has won two of its past three meetings but not at Geelong since the round-five triumph in 2007 that preceded a 15-game Cats winning streak enroute to the first of three premierships in five seasons. Scott agreed it was an enormous challenge, but said drilling down on Geelong's record reveals only that in recent seasons it has been an exceptional team no matter what the venue or opponent.
"They're a contender, they're still a really good side. If we want to be a good side we've got to beat good sides. We've played three of the top four or five in the comp at the moment and been OK, but we haven't been consistent enough.
"We're looking to bring our best every week, because that's what Geelong, Port Adelaide, Hawthorn, Sydney are doing at the moment "
Half-back Aaron Mullett trained on Tuesday and should return after withdrawing from the Brisbane Lions game with a hamstring issue, but Scott said fellow defender Nathan Grima would miss again with a foot problem - which will also sideline midfielder Daniel Wells for several more weeks.
"He's still too sore and we certainly don't want to take any risks with him." Scott said of Grima. "He's a really important player to us, so until he trains absolutely 100 per cent without any pain he won't play, and he's not training at all today so that rules him out this week."