AFL players feel responsibility: Coniglio

GWS captain Stephen Coniglio believes players will be on their best behaviour in order to keep the AFL season up and running amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The AFL is confident it has the resilience to avoid major disruption if a coronavirus case emerges among players or staff.

Coniglio says footballers are prepared to obey what AFL boss Gillon McLachlan has described as “over and beyond” measures to ensure the success of a restarted season.

“You don’t want to be the player that slips up, let alone the player that costs everyone else,” the star midfielder told ABC’s Offsiders.

“More than ever this AFL season will be won by the team that has the best discipline, and is the most resilient.

“You can take a lot of positives from (the shortened 17-round season), and to play every team once is the fairest model.

“No crowds for a little bit and playing everyone once, it gets about as fair as it has gotten for a while.”

Teams will resume non-contact training in groups of eight on Monday, then full contact training from May 25.

There are a range of mechanisms in place in a bid to avoid an outbreak.

Players and officials have already undergone the first of what will soon be twice-weekly coronavirus tests, and they will also face daily health checks.

“We can’t be risk-free but we’ve so far tested 1,260 players and officials, we’ve got zero confirmed cases of COVID-19,” AFL chairman Richard Goyder told ABC Grandstand.

“We’re going to be testing players twice a week (and) they’re going to have a health check every day, as are the officials around them.

“We’ve got seven layers of protocols we’re putting in place to ensure we protect the health and wellbeing of our players.”

The AFL is still in negotiation with the AFLPA regarding restrictions around the restart but players or officials caught breaching regulations will be charged under the AFL’s new “conduct unbecoming” rules and face stiff penalties.

Meanwhile, Adelaide and Port Adelaide will arrive in their Gold Coast quarantine hubs by May 24, allowing them to start full contact training the next day.

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