Adelaide captain Rory Sloane is adamant the Crows weren’t trying to bend AFL rules when a group of players breached coronavirus training protocols.
The AFL has stood down Crows assistant coach Ben Hart for six weeks and given 16 players a suspended one-match sanction for training together last week.
“There was no trying to bend the rules, there was no trying to deceive anyone,” Sloane told reporters on Wednesday.
“We totally accept that we breached some of the AFl rules and that social-distancing guideline, which we totally own.
“I will take a positive out of it – there’s a lesson tp be learnt from our mistake … to make sure we adhere to these guidelines because it’s going to be important to the whole industry.”
Under AFL protocols, training in groups of two or more players is banned amid the season shutdown because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Adelaide had 16 players and Hart in self-isolation at a Barossa Valley golf resort after returning from interstate.
Sloane said the club had written approval from SA Police and the AFL for the players to isolate at the golf resort.
“SA laws at that time said we could train in groups of eight, but that wasn’t an AFL regulation,” he said.
“That is where the confusion probably comes from … we clearly have just made a mistake.”
Forwards coach Hart has been banned from coaching for the next six weeks.
“You can’t just pin this on one person,” Sloane said.
“The whole footy club made a mistake.
“Harty is the best team man for the Adelaide Crows … I will never forget Benny Hart saying to me that club always comes first, that is Benny’s attitude.
“I spoke to him the other day and he was really pleased that the players only got a suspended sanction.
“He’s just such a selfless man, so we certainly felt for Harty … and our forwards will miss him for six weeks but we will have to adjust.”
Hart and the 16 players – eight of whom have featured in the AFL – remain in the Barossa Valley until next week when their 14-day isolation period ends.
“Everyone up there have been managing to find a positive in a pretty tough sotuation,” Sloane said.
“They’re finding ways to stay really positive in a hard situation at the moment.”