Patrick Dangerfield won’t rule out a 10-week AFL season following coronavirus shutdown


April 21, 2020 15:44:19

AFL Players’ Association president Patrick Dangerfield says he is open to playing 16 home-and-away rounds over 10 weeks to make sure the season is completed, but admits it is not an ideal option.

Key points:

  • Patrick Dangerfield says a condensed 10-week competition may end up as the AFL’s only option to get the 2020 season completed
  • Shortened quarters of 16 minutes plus time-on is an idea the AFL will have to consider for each round to help protect the recovery of players
  • Dangerfield is warming to the idea of quarantine hubs as a way to restart the season

The Geelong star said playing matches every four to five days must be considered, as the AFL plots a route back from the coronavirus shutdown.

The AFL competition was suspended after only one round last month in response to coronavirus and the league is expected to announce next week its plans for recommencing its season.

Dangerfield acknowledged that some players — due to age and injury management — might not be up to playing each match, meaning AFL clubs would need to embrace their entire list.

“We will do whatever we have to do in order to get the season away,” Dangerfield told SEN Radio.

“To be totally honest, if it’s 16 games in 10 weeks then we’ve just got to find a way. Is it ideal? It’s not.”

Dangerfield said shortened quarters of 16 minutes plus time-on — as tested in round one before the season was put on hold — would make a 10-week home-and-away competition more feasible.

“I think it’s far less taxing than a normal AFL game, so let’s keep our eyes open with what might be possible,” he said.

“We don’t really know what we can and can’t do until we try it.”

Dangerfield initially dismissed the idea of quarantine hubs as a way to resume the AFL season, which would see teams split into three groups and isolated in different states to limit their exposure to COVID-19.

He has had a change of mind however, saying it was worth exploring.

“The longer you look at where we are at nationally in terms of trying to combat the virus, I think it becomes more of an option to start the season,” he said.

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“This is purely my own personal thoughts, [but] I don’t see us flying week to week, state to state, I don’t think that’s going to be possible.

“So I think we’re going to have to open our eyes to that possibility that there are certain hubs around.

“As more information comes to light, I think it’s not as scary a proposition as what first initial reactions were.”

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Dangerfield said it was too soon to make a call on resuming training on May 4, which had been floated as a possible timeline.

“May 4 isn’t a date that was ever formally put to us as a PA (players’ association) and I suppose the situation we’re in is we’re waiting for an update from the AFL on where it’ll all stand but they are still gathering information,” he said.

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