“I can certainly understand, as a coach, the management position the teams are in,” Hinkley said.
“I have a little bit of a question about the integrity of the competition.
“Anything that I think affects ladder position, or draft position, in my view is affecting the competition’s fairness.
“If that’s the case, I’m not sure the AFL would be pleased with those sorts of results.”
Fremantle cannot lose top spot on the ladder, but the result of North Melbourne’s match will have an impact on the positions in the final eight.
North Melbourne and Richmond are likely to face off again in the elimination final next week, with a Richmond win and Bulldogs victory over Brisbane setting the two teams up to meet again.
However, if North Melbourne manage to beat Richmond, which now seems unlikely given the decision to rest several senior players, then the Kangaroos would be forced to travel to Adelaide to face the Crows.
“No one is doing anything outside of the rules. And they’re doing everything right for their football teams, which I respect,” he said.
“I fully understand why any coach in the top eight would be trying to do what they’re trying to do, which is get themselves in the best position – the idea (is) to get in the Grand Final.”