North Melbourne's ability to land a major recruiting blow will play a pivotal role in Brad Scott's future at the club.
With Richmond on Monday still in the dark regarding Dustin Martin's future, and Greater Western Sydney hopeful but not certain young star Josh Kelly will remain, it is now clear that the Kangaroos and their coach since 2010 will reassess his future should neither star midfielder come to Arden St.
In the event that the Kangaroos land at least one of the pair on a long-term contract, Scott, contracted until the end of 2018, will almost certainly receive a long-term extension. If not, he could leave the club and seek opportunities elsewhere in what would be an amicable departure.
Should the Kangaroos fail to lure Kelly or Martin, the club will continue a full-scale rebuild that has begun with 10 debutants this year. The question remains whether Scott would remain to oversee that rebuild.
If he was to leave, Scott would have the opportunity to pursue the vacant role at the Gold Coast Suns and potentially Collingwood, should the latter open up after the Pies hold a Tuesday board meeting to discuss Nathan Buckley's future.
The Roos have won only eight of their past 35 matches since opening the 2016 season with nine-straight wins. Scott has said a decision won't be made until after the end-of-season review.
Brownlow Medal favourites Kelly and Martin are on the cusp of finals campaigns, with their management maintaining a call won't be made until the end of the season.
Martin's manager Ralph Carr told Fairfax Media last month that could be as early as next week during the pre-finals bye. There was strong speculation on Monday night that Martin was set to visit his father Shane in New Zealand next week and would then make a call on his future. He had visited his father, a former Rebels motorcycle club president deported to his native country after he had his visa cancelled, during the mid-season bye this season.
Martin would return home to Melbourne with more than a week left to prepare for the Tigers' return to the finals. Carr and the Tigers did not return calls.
The Kangaroos are after greater midfield depth and a marquee name to help sell the club.
Their hopes of doing that could be helped by losing to Brisbane on Saturday, thereby finishing at the foot of the ladder and having the No.1 picks in the national and pre-season drafts.
Both teams have five wins apiece, with defeat for the Roos confirming their first wooden spoon since 1972 when they had only the one win.
Martin is a restricted free agent, so the Tigers could match any offer from the Roos. Industry figures maintain the Tigers should be the first club to do that, if required, for they are in their "premiership window". As of Monday, the Tigers remained uncertain about Martin's future, with the prevailing view that if his decision is based solely on money, he will leave.
The Roos have offered Martin a six-year deal and have the salary-cap space to stretch his annual salary beyond the $1.2 million the Tigers have tabled.
Kelly, whose father Phil played for North in the 1980s, has been offered a nine-year, $9 million offer by the Kangaroos. Carlton and St Kilda are also chasing him.
If the Roos retain the top pick in the draft, Western Jets midfielder-forward Cameron Rayner has been touted as the top talent - and similar to Martin in his on-field traits. Bendigo Pioneers midfielder Paddy Dow and Dandenong Stingrays midfielder Luke Davies-Uniake have also been tipped as No.1 picks.
The Kangaroos maintain they will head to the Gabba determined to win - despite the potential benefits of losing.
"Do I need to say it again and again and again, every single week? Yes, we are desperate to win," Scott said after the loss to St Kilda on Sunday.
"What we are trying to do is set a platform for the future and that doesn't come through one draft pick or another. It comes through setting the standards you want everyone to adhere to; a level of competitiveness that is infectious throughout the club.
"I firmly believe that if you think you can manipulate things to try and get a slightly better player than another, then that will come back to bite you at some point, if not in the short term, definitely in the long term.
"The difference between, what is it, pick one and pick four? It's going to be a good player, it's going to be a very good player ??? we value the competitiveness and the values of our football club much higher than three differences in the draft."
That the Roos have lost six matches by less than three goals this season has been seen as a sign they could quickly vault up the ladder in 2018.
They have several list-management decisions to make, for veterans Jarrad Waite, Lachie Hansen and Scott Thompson, the latter set to play his 200th game, are among those facing uncertain futures.
Ruckman Todd Goldstein, who has been battling form and personal issues, has two years remaining on his contract but could yet part ways should there be rival interest. Braydon Preuss is seen as being ready to step into the No.1 role.
The story Dusty, Kelly decision to play a role in Brad Scott's future first appeared on The Age.