Brady Rawlings, the general manager of football at North Melbourne, told NMFC.com.au that they will take a long-term approach with the dual club best and fairest winner.
“Ben’s been working closely with our physios and strength and conditioning staff, but the reality is, he won’t be available before the end of the season given the time we have left,” he said.
“He’d still need to complete a mini pre-season before being available for selection and we just don’t have that luxury with six games remaining.”
North Melbourne can confirm it will take a long-term approach with Ben Cunnington’s back injury, and has elected to rest him for the remainder of the season.
Look forward to seeing you back in 2021, Cunners 💪.
— North Melbourne (@NMFCOfficial) August 13, 2020
Cunnington’s ongoing back issues have impacted North’s 2020 campaign, only winning three games so far and sitting 17th on the ladder.
“Ben is one of the best midfielders in the competition, and arguably the best contested ball winner there is, so not having him out there has been a challenge for us obviously,” Rawlings said.
There is a silver lining to this, as Cunnington’s injury has meant that it gives some of North Melbourne’s more younger players a chance to shine.
“If there is one positive, it is that it has allowed us to give our emerging talent such as Luke Davies-Uniacke, Bailey Scott, Tarryn Thomas before his injury, and even Cam Zurhaar some increased midfield minutes,” he said.
Cunnington, who won North’s Syd Barker Medal as the club’s best and fairest last year, has not played a game since round five this year.