Essendon star Jobe Watson was left out of the Bombers' side to take on the Saints this weekend, but assistant coach Guy McKenna says it was all part of the plan.
Watson has played all bar one game this season, his first season back from Essendon's doping saga.
McKenna said the year off means he has to be looked after.
"We’d like to say managed, not rested," he told Triple M pre-game.
"Jobe’s been building, and I spoke about him getting through the season, given what he’s done last year, and he’s just started to get up on his toes.
"It’s more of a management plan for him."
McKenna flagged a few more management decisions to come at the Bombers.
"Some of those other boys could be missing too over the next eight weeks for us, as well," he said.
"We have to manage them. Obviously we have to get the group playing as best we possibly can."
He backed in Watson's replacement, Craig Bird, to fill the role.
"Bird’s been in sensational form in the seconds to the point where he’s been tagged," he said.
"We think he can come in and do a job for us tonight which probably Jobe couldn’t."