A long list of players and club staff, including Bulldogs midfielder Josh Dunkley, have been forced into 14-day isolation periods after unwittingly attending exposure sites this month.
Dunkley was told to isolate after visiting his local café and will miss Saturday night’s clash with Melbourne.
Victoria’s ever-expanding number of Covid-19 exposure sites has AFL players and staff on edge, Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge (centre) says
St Kilda’s Rowan Marshall and GWS star Toby Greene are also among the list of high-profile players out of action.
‘All of us are a bit paranoid about going anywhere,’ Beveridge said on Friday.
‘There’s so many Tier 1 and Tier 2 sites, but it just comes down to common sense really.
‘Our players know that and I think we’re avoiding being stuck in any one place for any period of time, including supermarkets et cetera.’
A host of players and staff now isolating were ordered to do so after attending the Wallabies’ rugby union international against France at AAMI Park, which drew more than 20,000 fans.
West Coast star Andrew Gaff said this week he believed clubs would start implementing their own restrictions – including staying away from large crowds – to ensure players aren’t forced to isolate and miss matches at the pointy end of the season.
But Beveridge is wary of putting players on too tight a leash once Victoria’s lockdown is over.
‘This is the challenge with their lifestyle and young people are missing out on so much these days with the rules and extra layers that the AFL sort of imposes over the top of society,’ Beveridge said.
‘We’ve got to be careful that we don’t create extra ones because there’s enough already.
‘There’s not a lot of freedom in it, as we know, but I think everyone’s being sensible.’
The AFL faces a host of issues around next week’s fixture but the Bulldogs believe they will be cleared to host Adelaide in Ballarat in round 20.
North Melbourne are hopeful of being given exemptions to host Geelong in Hobart, while Essendon are likely to remain in their temporary base in Queensland where they will take on Sydney.
There is no major impediment to a St Kilda-Carlton clash in Melbourne and Richmond have no qualms about spending next week under strict Western Australian quarantine rules in preparation for their clash with Fremantle.
The Tigers are preparing to fly to Perth straight after this Sunday’s heavyweight contest with Geelong at the MCG, bound for a stint at Joondalup Resort.
They will live and train under the same protocols as St Kilda are operating under this week before their meeting with West Coast.
‘It’s a little bit of planning and preparation but we’ve got some great people working behind the scenes who will take care of that,’ Richmond coach Damien Hardwick said.
‘We’ll get on the plane and give it a crack over there.’